5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint in Birmingham

Participants at 2018’s Graze fundraiser. Photo by Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network

The American Forest Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and Birmingham’s Vulcan Materials Company recently announced a partnership to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. The new initiative, the Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), seeks to capture and sequester greenhouse gas emissions, AKA carbon dioxide, produced by family farms. Since families own a whopping 290 million acres of American forest, they have to be included as part of the climate change solution.

This news got me thinking—what can I do to reduce my own carbon footprint as a Birmingham resident? Below are some ways I found. 

1) Recycle

Recycle those cans! Photo courtesy of UAB

This one is obvious, but the follow through can be difficult if you don’t know where to go. Luckily for you, we compiled a definitive guide to recycling in Birmingham a few months back. Instead of sending our trash to a landfill, let’s recycle it!

2) Drive Less

Birmingham, Alabama, Red Rock Trail System, Freshwater Land Trust
Consider biking on the Red Rock Trail System. Photo by Greg Harber via Freshwater Land Trust on Instagram

Do you love that traffic on 280 at the end of the day? Me either. But I’m willing to bet that if more people carpooled to work, the gridlock would improve. Why not ask a friend for a ride downtown? Saving gas and reducing traffic sounds like a win-win. 

If carpooling isn’t an option, how about dusting off that rusty bike? The Red Rock Trail System comes to mind, and one day Freshwater Land Trust’s vision of connecting 750 miles of trails in Birmingham will be realized. Just stay safe out there!

3) Eat Locally Grown Food

One of Birmingham’s biggest assets is our strong farmer’s market scene. By taking advantage of that and buying locally grown, seasonal food, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Food from the farm down the road doesn’t have to be processed, packaged and flown to BHM. 

You can also buy a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share and get weekly produce, flowers, eggs and more from a local farm. Yum!

4) Shop Fair trade, Vintage, or Sew Your Own Clothes

Charlotte Rand of Birmingham sews her own clothes. You can, too! Photo via @isewbhm on Instagram

The fashion industry alone is responsible for 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions—yikes. You can reduce your impact in the following ways:

5) Buy Native Plants

This flowering dogwood is just one example of a native plant. Photo via Bham Now

Did you know that native plants require less water? That’s because, as locals like ourselves, they’re adapted to our Birmingham environment! There are tons of other benefits of native plants, too. So when you’re thinking about landscaping options, think native. 

New Year, New Resolution

I now know what my New Year’s Resolution is for 2020—reduce my carbon footprint! 

If you want to know what your carbon footprint is, check out this handy calculator from the Nature Conservancy

What are some ways you protect the environment in Birmingham? What did we miss? Let us know @BhamNow.