HOUSTON (CBS Houston) As many of us make consorted efforts to improve our planet and environment, we strive to create better air quality, reduce waste and decrease the amount of toxic fumes and gasses we pollute our air with.

With all of the efforts made for creating a more “green” way of life, it’s important to understand the importance of your carbon footprint. So let’s explore such in this installment of “Think Green Thursday”.

1. A carbon footprint is… … the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted as you carry out day to day tasks and activities. Usually, a carbon footprint is expressed in tons of CO2 emitted per year. We all know that public transportation and driving a car are huge contributors of pollution but sometimes there are not-so-obvious ways we are expanding our carbon footprint.

2. The elimination of meat… Did you know that eliminating meat from your diet affects your carbon footprint? This was a new on on me, but let’s explore this. When we purchase steaks or beef, it is usually wrapped in cellophane and comes on a Styrofoam tray or platter of some sort. Both products are difficult to recycle and break down. Food packaging materials add approximately 60 pounds of carbon per year.

3. “Go go gadgets”… We are a society that loves electronics, power-infused gadgets and energy. However, we must love our planet more to decrease our usage of energy. Remembering to turn off lights in unoccupied rooms in our home and offices, using energy-efficient bulbs for light sources and simply becoming cognizant of our energy usage can really cut down on our carbon footprint.

4. Water… Remember me being that individual who leaves water running during simple tasks as showers and brushing my teeth? Raise your hand if you are a culprit of water waste as well… I’ll wait… OK, here is the deal: you and I have to make a consorted effort to eliminate water waste. Full loads of clothes in the washer and full loads of dishes in the dishwasher are a must. Making sure that facets do not drip water and are turned off tightly is paramount in reducing our water waste. Every time I think about how much I waste water, I always think about this poor child in a remote country carrying buckets of water to his or her home, due to shortages of water supplies in their community. There is no need to feel guilty about what we use, we just have to be more sensible when it comes to using certain natural resources and we can all begin with water usage.

(Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

5. That transportation thing… Yep… our modes of transportation are huge factors in either our diminishing or expanding our carbon footprint. I was really proud of myself for walking to my neighborhood stores and shops instead of going to the garage and driving my SUV. When you can walk somewhere or bike instead of driving, you should consider doing so. Also, if car pooling is an option for you, consider such. Even air travel can expand our carbon foot print. According to reports, a single one-way flight from New York to Los Angeles makes about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. You certainly cannot tell the airline or the pilot to “fill up the plane” with passengers for a plane ride cause you would get in all worlds of trouble. When you can, simply look for more “green friendly” ways to get around. You would be surprised how much those little efforts can have a huge impact.

What are ways you reduce your carbon footprint? Share them and enjoy related video below:


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