TCAT’s greenhouse gas inventory for Thurston County (PDF) shows that the two largest sources of carbon pollution in our county are energy used in our buildings (53%) and transportation (44%). These are the two most important areas to work on to reduce our contributions to global warming.
- Drive less: Bike, walk, take mass transit, carpool, switch to a car with better mileage, fly less.
- Reduce hot water use: Turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees. Also, properly insulate your hot water heater.
- Recycle: Organize and keep recycling receptacles in a convenient place. Learn when, how, and what your community recycles (paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastic containers, etc.).
- Reuse: Buy used products when possible and replace disposable products with reusable ones.
- Food consumption: Food accounts for a sizable portion of our emissions (14%). To make cuts here, your best option is to reduce consumption of meat, especially beef. A pound of beef is responsible for some EIGHTEEN TIMES the emissions of a pound of pasta.
- Eat locally: Eat locally grown food to save energy from long-distance transportation. Transportation is about 4% of food emissions.
- Shop smart: From tangible items like clothes and furniture to services like haircuts and healthcare—accounts for the remainder of our personal emissions (26%). These purchases are spread across so many categories it is hard to get significant reductions from a single choice. That said, simply buying less stuff or purchasing recycled or reclaimed items can significantly trim your personal emissions.
- Weather proof: Improve insulation for your windows, walls, basements, crawl space and attic.
- Heating and cooling: Upgrade your furnace or air conditioners to highly efficient models. Seal air leaks, because leaks in the average home may waste 15–25% of heat in winter and the same amount of unwanted heat gain in our homes in summer (17% of national GHG emissions).
- Conserve power: Turn off lights, run only full clothes and dish washer loads.
- Replace light bulbs: Use compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LED).
- Start a compost pile: Put less in the landfill by starting a small compost pile in your back yard.