1) Drive less
The less you drive, the less you emit! Try walking or biking if the distance is reasonable. Carpooling and public transit are two other great options in reducing your carbon footprint. You could also go for fuel-efficient cars that are electric, hybrid, or require less gas. Bellevue College offers some great alternative options, such as a Bike Rental Program, EV charging stations and parking, and a BC ORCA Card!
2) Eat More Plant-Based Foods
The meat and dairy industry is a large contributor to our global greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce your carbon footprint, you can start out by doing Meatless Mondays, and then work your way into incorporating more plant-based meals into your day.
To learn more about the environmental impacts of plant-based diets you can check out these links-
For recipes and general information, a great resource is https://www.forksoverknives.com.
3) Save Energy
Most people tend to use a large amount of energy when heating spaces. So, make sure your home is well-insulated and to not crank the heat temperature too high. Some other quick things you can do to conserve energy are using cold water to wash clothes and air drying them, unplugging appliances when not in use, owning laptops instead of desktop computers, and switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs (like LED). Try looking for the EnergyStar label when buying new products. This certification signifies that a product has met certain energy-efficiency qualifications.
Of course, one of the best things you can do is to make the switch renewable energy. Look to see if your energy supplier or local utility offers renewable options. For example, check out the programs available for Puget Sound Energy Customers!
Did you know you can see our campus energy use live? Check out the Energy Dashboards.
4) Wear sustainable materials and/or used clothes
The fast fashion industry is a major greenhouse gas contributor, so it is important to support businesses that promote slow fashion instead. Fast fashion is a term used to describe the production of a large amount of clothes for a low amount of money. This usually involves the use of cheap, low-quality materials and the entire process poses problems environmentally and ethically. In contrast, slow fashion is a concept that focuses on maintaining an awareness of the production, purchase, and use of clothing. Slow fashion brands tend to focus on providing good quality clothes that will last a long time while valuing the environment and ethics.
You can also keep an eye out conscious materials like deadstock fabric, recycled materials, and natural fibers like linen and organic cotton (conventional cotton is not as environmentally friendly due to its large use of water and pesticides). Thrifting is another great option because it keeps perfectly good clothes out of the landfill and decreases the demand for making more unsustainable textiles.
Here’s a great article to learn more about slow-fashion-
5) Shop local
Buying products that are locally made are great for supporting businesses near you and for limiting packaging and transportation emissions. The same goes for food. Check out farmers markets near you or try out CSA!
The Office of Sustainability offers CSA boxes during the fall and spring quarters! Check out some of our past CSA events!
6) Offset your carbon
There are lots of programs where you can offset your carbon emissions through paying to reduce greenhouse gases through things such as reforestation projects. These programs can offset carbon emissions from home, air travel, large events, and more. NativeEnergy is a good example of one of the carbon offset programs you might want to look into. When looking for a carbon-offset program, check that it is third-party verified by an independent, reliable party such as Gold Standard, Green-e, or Verified Carbon Standard.
7) Advocate for policy changes
It is important to advocate for policies on carbon emissions on small and large scales. You can make your interest known in establishing carbon reducing policies at your workplace! There are plenty of other things you can do like supporting organizations that address the climate crisis (like 350.org), signing petitions, voting with climate change in mind, and participating in public events in your area.
8) Spread Awareness and Join the Effort at BC!
The more people that know about the climate crisis, the more we can do. Be active in campus sustainability initiatives, participate in discussions, and educate your family and friends! The Bellevue College Office of Sustainability offers volunteer opportunities and events to be a part of our sustainable community and to learn more about how you can make a difference. Reach out to us at any time to discuss ideas or ask questions. There are funds available to make your campus sustainability ideas a reality!
Last Updated August 20, 2021