Arts & Culture Environment Featured Finance Health Lifestyle Technology

Seven Uniquely WNY Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Western New York is a perfect place to live an earth-friendly lifestyle. We have some of the most beautiful parks and wonderful restaurants in the world, all within a 20-minute drive. 

Electric Vehicle Friendliness

Buffalo has jumped into embracing electric vehicles. Because our region is small and fairly dense, Western New York is a prime location to take advantage of all of the benefits of electric car ownership. Unlike western states in which a day’s worth of errands might exceed the mileage range of an electric car battery, Western New York’s ubiquitous 20-minutes-to-everywhere drive time is a serious advantage. Especially since it’s becoming so easy to find a Tesla charger just about everywhere, and the new Level 3 chargers work so fast, electric car drivers will find they can get around the area more efficiently than the traditional car drivers who have to stop for gas. 

Walk the Main Streets

Nothing is greener than walking. Buffalo and its suburbs feature some of the most walkable main streets in America. Around the city and surrounding towns, you can easily find one place to park and then walk to restaurants, shops, and other services. Buffalo has the Elmwood Strip, Allentown, Hertel Avenue, the Theater District, and Canalside for just about every kind of shopping and entertainment you could want. Kenmore has the classics on Delaware Avenue. Main Street in Williamsville is lovely. East Aurora’s Main Street is a modern version of its artisan roots. 

Take the Train

Using public transit versus driving reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 45%. That’s huge. The NFTA has worked hard to pair its light rail service to the special events downtown. That means you can catch a Bisons or Sabres game without the hassle of traffic. It also means you don’t have to wonder about how long it will take you, or how much parking will cost for festivals and concerts at the stadiums and Canalside. Consider public transit for other types of trips, like your daily commute or your subscription to the Irish Classical Theater. 

Enjoy Our Parks

There are well over 100 parks in Western New York. There are about 70 in Erie and Niagara counties alone. Getting out into our beautiful park systems is a great way to be green in two ways. First, strolling, hiking, jogging, and picnicking are basically carbon footprint free activities. When you swap out an activity that consumes fossil fuels for a day in the park, that’s a net win for the environment. Check out the amazing groups like Hike WNY for information on parks you may not have heard of and for fun group events like the WNY Hiking Challenge.

Second, being out in nature is a great way to reignite your passion for being mindful about your environmental impact. If you keep it front of mind, you are more likely to make consistent, positive changes.

Eat Locally Made

Chain restaurants have never been a major part of Western New York’s food scene. Instead, locally owned places featuring homemade food have dominated. Fortunately, Buffalo’s love of its own has some great green benefits. Chain restaurants tend to mass produce their food elsewhere and jam them with artificial preservatives so they keep long enough to be microwaved on site in the restaurant. Mom and pop restaurants make their food with real food ingredients because they don’t have to worry about their food lasting for weeks while it gets distributed. Cutting out all those food chemicals is good for the earth and for Western New Yorker’s health.


Everyone knows the environmental mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle.” The amazing and prolific thrift stores in Western New York tick all three boxes, making thrift store shopping a high-impact carbon footprint minimizer. 

Stuff that is already here locally stays here. That’s a reduction in the cost of shipping more goods in and shipping more garbage out. The things that are here get reused rather than tossed in a landfill, which is another net win. Lastly, what’s here can be upcycled to a better purpose, even when it has outlived its original purpose.

Make It Physically Greener

Almost every week around Western New York, there is some kind of tree planting, park clean up, or other green community activity. Keep an eye on the community calendar for opportunities like the ones Buffalo River Keepers hosts and the ongoing Ellicott Creek Park revitalization.