What in the world is a "carbon footprint"? Your carbon footprint is a measurement of the effect you have on the climate in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases you produce. Many things you do every day send greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, from riding in a motorboat, RV, airplane or car to doing simple things like turning on the gas or oil furnace to heat up the home. Every time you barbecue meat or turn on the gas range, you add to the global warming problem. Same goes for every time you flip on a light switch or TV (if your power plant generates electricity by using natural gas or coal, as many do).
On average, each American yearly sends 20 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That's 40,000 pounds.
So, how can you cut your personal carbon-dioxide emissions by 60 or 80 percent? Such a huge reduction worldwide is needed to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, according to climate scientists.
An obvious help: You can reduce your emissions by 17 tons a year by switching to a car that gets 25 miles per gallon instead of 20 MPG, according to Fueleconomy.gov. If you leave your car at home two days a week (and walk, bike or take the bus instead), your CO2 reduction would equal 1,590 pounds a year, according to Seattle-based Climate Solutions.
A simple, small step: Substitute a compact fluorescent bulb for an incandescent bulb. You'll save 260 pounds yearly.
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