Reducing Carbon Pawprint

Written by Grace Houser, ESLLC 2016-2017

I am the first to admit to being a dog lover. More often than not, I go out of my way to pet dogs walking by, so when I came across an article by the Huffington Post about pets’ impact on the planet, I wanted to impart this important pet owner wisdom. First of all, pets are great and I’m not going to tell you that having them is bad, however there are issues of sustainability that most of us might not know. If you’ve ever heard of the carbon impact cow manure makes on the planet (if not, check out Cowspiracy!), then you might be able to see how dogs and cats play a role, too.

Dog waste hits 10 million tons per year, which pollutes right into our waters and makes our landfills grow even bigger. Fear not, if you are a fellow tree hugger and four legged friend lover, I have some tips to keep you and your pet sustainable and happy. 1. Have your pet eat a veggie based diet, if possible. All of the meat that pets (and humans) eat use a ton of energy and water! 2. Try to buy in bulk. Much like saving money at Costco, buying pet food in bulk limits packaging. 3. Feed your pet, but don’t overfeed them. You and I both know your cat Snowball is a little overweight, so do the planet and your pet a favor and just cut back. If you’re not noticing a trend yet, let me tell you that a lot of what we can do to live more sustainably applies to our pets, too. 4. Stick to biodegradable bags when picking up poop, and please do pick up the poop, nobody likes that bottom of the shoe surprise. 5. There are cats and dogs out there that are already waiting for an owner, so rather than going to a breeder, check out adoption or rescue options.

The world of sustainability is a big one, with endless new knowledge. I feel like I am learning something new every day that informs me about how to live while being conscious of the planet. It can be overwhelming at times because of the responsibility we face towards conserving the planet, but as long as we are taking steps towards improvement, we are making progress. And for those of you with pets out there, give them a hug and tell them how much you love them. Cue the cute animal pictures:

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