Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

10 Tips to Lower Your Carbon Footprint When You Shop

It’s a fact of modern life that we have to buy Stuff—most of us aren’t farmers, for example, and even farmers have to buy Stuff to keep their farms going. That Stuff we buy has a carbon footprint. We can’t eradicate it, but we can do our darndest to shop responsibly and make sure the Stuff we buy leaves the smallest carbon footprint possible.

Here are 10 things you can do to fight climate change while you shop.

The following is an excerpt from Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert. It has been edited for the Web.

What does my shopping have to do with climate change?

  • Everything you buy has an effect on your carbon footprint — the amount of CO2 your lifestyle generates.
  • The kind of food and clothing you buy makes a difference. Artificial fertilizers and pesticides, used to grow most food and cotton, are derived from oil and natural gas, and their manufacture is energy-intensive and emits CO2.
  • When you buy anything made of timber from non-sustainable forests there is an additional impact on your carbon footprint. Trees are the “lungs” of our world — they transform CO2 into oxygen, thereby reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • The number of miles your goods have traveled to get from their source to your home makes a difference. All else being equal, the greater the distance, the greater the CO2 emitted, especially if they have been transported by air.
  • Shopping trips by car add CO2 to the atmosphere.

Buying locally produced products = less CO2

What can I do about it?

  1. Buy locally grown food, in season, from your local markets and farm stands. Reduce your food miles — avoid food that has traveled a long way to reach you.
  2. Buy organic if possible: organic food and clothing will have been grown without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
  3. Buy furniture made from natural timber that has come from a sustainable source. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) symbol.
  4. Buy the most energy-efficient household appliances.
  5. Plan your shopping so that you do as much in one trip as possible.
  6. Use a bike or the bus for your shopping trips where possible.
  7. Share a car — shop with a friend.
  8. Buy secondhand whenever you can.
  9. Buy goods that will last.
  10. Buy less!


Dear Humans: Listen to Ben Kilham. Signed, The Bears.

When it comes to fatal human-bear encounters, too often it’s the bear who ends up on the losing end. The most recent story occurred in Thetford, Vt., where a hungry bear with slim pickings began seeking out food in town. After unsuccessful attempts to thwart the bear – known to bear rehab specialist and author […] Read More

Reimagining Restoration as a Radical Act

Finding ways to manage “invasive” species as we’ve come to know them has sparked a vigorous debate within conservation and restoration communities, as well as farmers, gardeners, and permaculturalists.In her thought-provoking book Beyond the War on Invasive Species, author Tao Orion urges us to rethink and reimagine restoration as a way to break out of […] Read More

Trust Your Unconsciousness: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas on Writing

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a New York Times-bestelling author, traveler, and astute observer of the natural world. In Dreaming of Lions, a paperback edition of her memoir, Thomas pens a powerful new afterword and a selection of photos from her extraordinary life is included. Below is an excerpt from her chapter about writing, and her […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you.Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all […] Read More

Recipe: Pascal Baudar’s Basic Wild Kimchi

Experiment with what you have, anything from the mustard family will work extremely well. Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com