January 7, 2020
In 2018, the UN International Panel on Climate Change released a report stating we have 12 years to take significant steps to help reduce the impacts of climate change. Since then, two years have passed and we’re seeing things like the massive bushfires in Australia that are an indicator of what’s to come. The action needed to mitigate the problem of carbon pollution will require significant steps from world governments, but we as individuals can help influence others to commit to a more sustainable future.
So what can we do as individuals to be more sustainable in 2020 and the whole of the 2020s? Frog has some tips to help you reduce your individual carbon footprint and how you can influence those around you to help practice sustainable initiatives.
1. Consume Less
As humans we produce a lot of waste when it comes to how we buy food items. Single use plastics and petroleum based packaging have made it more efficient to keep foodstuffs for longer periods of time and generally make life easier. The drawback being that these items don’t break down or if they do they become microplastics that pollute our oceans and negatively affect our planet’s wildlife. To help reduce your use of single-use plastics or petroleum-based packing altogether, use things like metal straws in lieu of plastic straws, switch to cloth shopping bags for groceries and produce, and more importantly buy only the food items you know you’re going to use. However, if you do find that you’ve got some extra food that hasn’t been consumed, you can always compost that for use in a personal garden.
Another facet of consumption are the everyday things we buy in terms of clothes, electronics, and other things we decide to throw in our Amazon cart on a whim. Most clothes are produced through agricultural means like cotton or wool. Fibers like cotton require massive amounts of water to grow as do the sheep who provide the wool for a cozy winter sweater. Considering buying used clothes instead of new clothes. It’s cheaper, you can find some chic looks, and you’re no longer inducing a demand to create new clothes.
As for electronics, consider repairing your phone or computer instead of upgrading. Modern electronics require carbon-intensive mining for resources, so once again reduction in demand means those minerals stay in the ground. Let’s face it, incremental updates to the iPhone just aren’t worth it.
Then there’s the Amazon problem. Sure it’s great having the ability to have some doodad shipped to you overnight for the low price of a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime, but it generates tremendous amounts of carbon throughout the entire Amazon supply chain. Shipping is usually facilitated via carrier planes which emit a lot of carbon. Then there’s the local trucks that drive around all day to drop off everyone’s goods all while idling at stops and emitting more and more carbon into the atmosphere. The packaging also creates a problem since much of it can’t be recycled. So instead of buying from Amazon, try to find local sustainable items if you are going to consume.
2. Eat Less Meat or No Meat at All
Meat is delicious, we get it. Frog is based in Austin, Texas where you can find some of the best, tastiest BBQ in the world, but commercial animal farming uses lots of water, produces tons of carbon emissions, and also produces methane production which is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon. If you’re going to eat less meat, we suggest cutting beef out entirely. Cows burp, and those burps produce a lot of methane. The reason being that most commercial cattle farming relies on feeding cows corn to fatten them up to get to market faster. Cows stomachs aren’t really built for eating corn so they produce more methane during their digestion process than their traditional diet of grass.
Large-scale commercial farming creates an incredible amount of greenhouse gas emissions. So buying from small-scale, local sustainable farms is probably your best option if you’re going to eat less meat.
Going completely meatless makes a huge dent in your carbon footprint. The average mixed diet produces 3.5-2.5 tons of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) whereas a vegetarian/vegan diet produces 1.7-1.5 tons of CO2e. With plant-based “meats” becoming more prevalent and close in taste to meat, now is a great time to switch to a meatless diet.
3. Make Your Home a Little More Sustainable
Making changes at home can be the best way to make direct action on reducing your emissions. Installing solar panels is a great way to generate your own power and also make money by selling it back to the grid. Renovating your home by making it better insulated and installing IoT hardware to automate your home and reduce your energy use when you’re not home.
It’s not just the inside of your home that can help reduce carbon, the outside can help with carbon capture. Planting native plants and trees is a great way to help pull carbon out of the atmosphere. If grass is not something that grows naturally where you live, maybe a lush green lawn isn’t the best idea. Xeriscaping is sometimes a better option for people in areas where grass doesn’t grow naturally. Adding bird feeders or a solo beehive brings a tinge of nature to your home, but also adds a secondary benefit of bringing pollinators to your home garden or the plants around your home.
4. Change the Way You Move
The way we move about our days is an important indicator of the size of our carbon footprint. One round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco can account for 20% of the emissions your car emits in a year! Travel is great, we’re not knocking it, but flying should only be an option if there’s no other option. Trains are a great way to get long distances that don’t require crossing the ocean and pollute less than an airplane. Of course if you are a frequent flyer for work you can always buy travel offsets through a service like Cool which can run about $15 per flight (not bad if you can get your work to foot the bill).
If you commute to work alone and by car, you’re emitting about 4.6 metric tons of carbon per year. Riding public transport reduces the amount of personal carbon output by 25-30%. That’s a significant cut. When you augment public transport with a bike or Frog electric scooter as a first and last mile solution, you reduce it even further! When you ride Frog you just press the throttle and go. No emissions (and no peddling either), in fact riding Frog emits less than 42 times the amount of a car.
Frog is also great for those short runs to the corner store, local restaurant, or favorite hangout. Instead of getting in a car to go less than a mile, you can get to where you’re going knowing you’re not making a major impact on your carbon footprint. Sometimes you just don’t want to walk those short commutes, there’s no shame in taking a Frog for those small local errands.
Frog as a company has a carbon neutral supply chain and gives back 1% to sustainable nonprofits because we believe in our mission. Tackling climate change will require a lot of effort, but we’re optimistic that we can do it together. With Frog and you, we can help leap forward to a more sustainable future.