How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint & Water Consumption

Lilly Kirk, Staff Writer

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The term “carbon footprint” is generally defined as the total emissions caused by an individual. As you may know, our planet’s atmosphere is gradually deteriorating as our climate changes due to the carbon released due to human activities. Luckily, there are a few steps we can take to reduce our own personal carbon footprint.

One of the most effective actions an individual can take to lower their carbon output is to avoid animal products. Recent studies have shown that meat, cheese, and eggs create a much higher carbon footprint than fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans. If veganism is too far of a stretch for you, even a vegetarian diet has been calculated to be half the carbon footprint of a meat-lover’s diet.

I asked a few people at Northgate Highschool some ways they try to save water, and every response included “taking short showers” or “turning off the faucet when brushing my teeth.” Unfortunately, your quick, five minute showers (about seventeen gallons) or turning off the faucet does nothing in the grand scheme of saving our planet’s water. In fact, the biggest step you can take to reduce your water consumption is by cutting meat from your diet. The total amount of water needed to produce one pound of beef is 1,799 gallons of water. Something even crazier is the fact that it takes more than 2,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of cow milk, around twice as much as that required to produce a gallon of almond milk.

I’m not here to push anyone into switching to veganism or vegetarianism, but to bring this problem into the light. By making a few simple dietary adjustments, you won’t only be helping preserve our planet, but also yourself.

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