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.
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
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
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:
- Shop less and sew your own clothes!
- If picking up a needle and thread sounds too daunting, you can also buy secondhand clothes at local thrift and consignment stores or go for vintage garb—I’m a big fan of Zoe’s in Forest Park.
- When shopping for goods, considering buying fair trade, which certifies goods are made with labor using fair wages and sustainability in mind. Birmingham has several fair trade stores to check out!
5) Buy Native Plants
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.