Downsizing for the Environment

As the burning of fossil fuels and other harmful practices continue to harm the environment, more people are becoming aware of how their personal behavior contributes to this result. In reaction to this growing awareness, people have been making efforts to reduce their footprint. One of the words most closely related to this movement is downsizing. The general idea of downsizing can come in many different practices and methods. Depending on each person’s particular lifestyle, they will find personal strategies for reducing their carbon footprint. In order to provide some resourceful ideas, here are a few ways in which downsizing can help reduce negative effects on the environment.

1. Use Less Energy

The most effective method for reducing the size of a carbon footprint is to use less energy. After all, this is the overall goal of downsizing. Those who live in modern cities use energy throughout their daily lives. Showering, driving, cooking and cleaning are just a few examples of daily activities that require the use of energy. An attempt at reducing even one of these can have a great effect on decreasing an individual’s footprint.

For example, water can be used less when washing hands or brushing teeth. Consider downsizing your water flosser. You’re going to want to look for a compact version. Less plastic is used in the making of it, and the reservoir holds a small amount of water.

2. Drive a Smaller Car

As cars account for a majority of transportation in the United States, they naturally produce a large majority of our nation’s carbon footprint. The United States’ Energy Information Association (EIA) estimated that the amount of fuel consumed for automobiles in 2015 resulted in an emission of 1,545 million metric tons of CO2. This statistic accounted for both diesel and gasoline consuming vehicles. One of the greatest strategies to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced is to drive a smaller car. Smaller vehicles have proven to sustain greater gas mileage. This means that smaller cars can reach farther distances while burning less fuel. Furthermore, larger vehicles typically cause more harm to the environment when running on diesel fuel. As an added bonus to the purchaser, smaller cars are much cheaper to buy and maintain over time.

3. Share a Car

With the number of cars worldwide currently exceeding one billion and showing no signs of stopping, other downsizing strategies must be taken to counteract the negative environmental effect. Reportedly, there are 1.3 people for every car in the United States alone. This means that there is roughly one car for every individual nationwide. A great way to help reduce the possible impact of these alarming statistics is sharing car rides. People typically drive to destinations where others are driving as well. Sharing the drive with another individual can cut carbon emissions in half.

4. Consider Purchasing a Smaller Home

While moving into an entirely different house may be unpractical for most people, it is still a worthwhile idea to consider for new home buyers or those considering a move in the near future. Having a smaller home will greatly reduce an individual’s or family’s carbon footprint. Being the place people spend a large portion of their time, homes are inevitably one of the greatest producers of carbon dioxide emissions. From electricity usage, water consumption, heating and cooling production and cooking, homes require a lot of energy to run efficiently. When searching for a home, it may be tempting to purchase a house that is bigger than necessary. Unfortunately, larger homes inevitably produce greater carbon footprints than smaller homes.

As the world rapidly becomes more industrialized, the burning of fossil fuels also rises. Unfortunately, the current functioning of society demands these sources of energy. Therefore, it is up to each individual to help reduce their own consumption of energy in an effort to decrease the effects of climate change. These four methods of downsizing are simply a few ideas that will help to reduce a person’s carbon footprint. However, there are countless more ideas and strategies being used.