easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Two Super Easy Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint & Reforest Your Planet

I generally think it’s a bad idea to assume that your government is going to solve the issues of pollution, deforestation, and CO2 production. There’s just a possibility they’ll never do it. That’s why it’s really important that individuals take it upon themselves to be the change they want to see.

Where’s that quote from again? Oh yeah, this guy:

Mahatma Gandhi

There are two things I did this year to get me to move in this direction.

1. I switched my electrical power company

My family and I have an interesting housing situation. We co-own a home with another family member and we rent a home. Both dwellings can’t have solar panels installed on them. For the one we co-own, the homeowners association will not permit us to put solar on the roof. And for the rental, well, we don’t have permission because we don’t own the building.

I started searching for a solution. Should I put solar panels in the back yard of the rental and have my brother (who’s an electrician) rig up some kind of power inverter system? Southern California Edison probably doesn’t want me doing that, and my landlord probably doesn’t want me doing that either.

Eventually, I found out about Arcadia Power. Basically, you buy power through them and they sell you renewable energy credits. That means I’m buying my power from renewable energy providers from across the country. The entire renewable energy market (from what I understand) sells power – or maybe trades power – using these things called renewable energy credits. When they produce a bunch of power on a given day, that power is worth so many renewable energy credits (RECs). When I buy power from Arcadia power, I’m exchanging money for RECs – meaning, I’m purchasing renewable power that has been created and associated with a certain amount of RECs.

Thanks big gov for making this explainer video on RECs!

This is good enough for me. And the cost for the power so far has been about the same as the partially “dirty” power I was paying for from Southern California Edison.

2. I started having trees planted

Taking a step back. I first started this mission by trying to grow my own California Oak seedlings into mature trees. That was hard! Oaks and the summertime don’t jive well. There’s a lot of nuances to getting an oak to grow. And my green-thumb is only so-so.

Then I did an outing with Tree People to do some reforestation work. It was mostly about pulling weeds and watering native plants and shrubs that had been planted earlier in the year. Important work, but it would have been hard to reach my goal doing that volunteer work. Plus I had to drive 90 minutes to the site every time I wanted to do any reforestation, which kind of defeats the purpose. I’m not saying people shouldn’t do reforestation, it’s just that I should find some reforestation work a lot closer to where I live.

Then I asked on Quora. And this wonderful person told me about One Tree Planted. For $1, I can get a 1 tree planted. And it’s tax-deductible. That’s a no brainer. So I’ve started with a donation of $40 and I plan to get 60 more trees planted by the end of the year.

I may switch up my game a bit next year or starting soon. I’m hearing that grasslands might be even better at sequestering carbon dioxide than trees. Stay tuned!

Bonus?

This is something I started to do after we came back from Spain. I started walking to the grocery store with a stroller. It’s 1.7 miles to either of the Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood. I’ll walk to one of them about once a week to do grocery shopping. It’s good exercise and the less driving I do, the better.

So!

There you go. There are two things you can do really easily to help out. You can switch your power company AND you can have trees planted. Really easily. Please share this information with others.

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