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Environmental Awareness

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint and Clean Up Our Florida Beaches

Photo by: davidemrich
Ashley Bowes, Author at Swim Guide
Ashley Bowes, Waterkeeper Swim Guide
February 17, 2023

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint and Clean Up Our Florida Beaches

On any given day, we all emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We do this by operating gas-powered vehicles, or by purchasing products and services that cause a release of carbon compounds. The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds that you release into the atmosphere is known as your carbon footprint, and every individual and organization has one.

Ultimately, it’s in the best interest of our planet for us all to keep our carbon footprints as small as possible. Doing so limits our contribution to climate change, and may even help to slow the degradation of our beautiful beaches and other scenic areas.

One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to consider switching to solar energy, especially if you live in a sun-filled area. Beyond getting solar panels in Florida, here are some additional options to reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the beauty of our Florida beaches.

Pack Items in a Reusable Tote

One easy way to offset your carbon footprint is to get into the habit of using reusable totes, as opposed to disposable plastic grocery bags. This is true when you’re shopping but just as true when you’re packing your family for a trip to the beach. In pretty much all situations, reusable is the way to go!

What makes it so beneficial to pack your items in a reusable tote? There are actually a couple of things to consider here. One is that if you take a bunch of plastic bags to the beach with you, the odds are pretty high that several of those bags are going to either blow away or get left behind.

Something else to think about is that plastic production is an extremely harmful activity, pumping huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Any small step you can take to minimize plastic consumption will ultimately help to decrease your own carbon footprint.

Take Trash, Leave Nothing

Another way you can minimize your carbon footprint, particularly during your next Florida beach trip? Make sure you leave no garbage behind.

Beyond just making sure that you leave your own beach spot clean and tidy, you might go a step further and spend a few minutes combing the beach and picking up litter each day. This may seem like a futile gesture, but in reality it’s anything but. Even a single piece of trash may find its way into the ocean where it has a harmful effect on aquatic life; every piece of litter you pick up can potentially save the life of an animal.

Additionally, any plastic debris that you pick up can potentially be recycled. That can help to offset plastic manufacturing. And as we’ve already noted, plastic manufacturing is one of the primary drivers of carbon emissions.

All that’s just to say: Picking up trash matters. And if you really want to go the extra mile, consider signing up for a beach cleanup program.

Minimize Your Driving

Of course, plastic manufacturing isn’t the only source of carbon emissions. Any time you drive a fossil-fueled vehicle, you’re releasing harmful compounds into the atmosphere. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to minimize your driving, whether you’re at home or on vacation:

  • Plan your routes carefully to minimize your total commute time.
  • Consider carpooling when you can, reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
  • When possible, use public transportation, especially if you’re in a city that uses eco-friendly buses. 

Consider Other Actions to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

There are a number of other options that can help you to minimize your carbon footprint. Here are some simple strategies to be more environmentally aware during your daily life.

  • Recycle. Be sure that you recycle everything and anything you can, properly sorting plastics, metals, and glass for reuse. Whatever you can do to keep plastics out of the landfill is ultimately good news for the environment!
  • Invest in energy efficient windows. Properly insulated windows will help regulate the temperature inside your home, potentially decreasing your need to run your heating or cooling unit. This not only minimizes your environmental impact, but can lower your utility bills, too!
  • Switch to renewable energy. If you live in a part of the country that gets plenty of sun exposure, then you may be a good candidate for solar panels. Again, this is an option that can minimize your environmental impact while also keeping your utility bills under control.

The bottom line? All of us have our own carbon footprint, and the greater the footprint, the more corrosive our impact on the natural world. Thankfully, there are small steps all of us can take to keep our carbon output under control. Consider the ways in which you can minimize your carbon footprint, both at home and as you travel.