How to Minimize Your Carbon Footprint By Living in a Cave

How to Minimize Your Carbon Footprint By Living in a Cave

Why Live in a Cave?

Living in a cave can significantly reduce your carbon footprint compared to a modern house or apartment. By eliminating most modern appliances and conveniences that require electricity and fossil fuels, you remove a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions from your lifestyle.

Some key benefits of cave living for your carbon footprint:

  • No heating/cooling: Caves maintain a stable temperature year-round, eliminating a major source of emissions from heating and cooling a modern home.

  • No electricity: Without electric lights, appliances, etc. your energy usage drops dramatically.

  • No commuting: Most caves are remote, so you won’t be driving or taking transport to get to work or shops.

  • Lower consumption: You won’t be buying newly manufactured goods transported long distances when living simply in a cave.

Choosing a Cave

When selecting a cave to make your new low-carbon home, here are some factors to consider:


  • Look for a remote cave away from major cities and communities. This reduces any emissions from commuting or having food/goods transported to you.

  • Pick a moderate climate so the cave stays warm in winter and cool in summer. Avoid extremes like the far north or south.

  • Near a fresh water source like a stream, lake, or spring for drinking water.

Size and Layout

  • Find a cave large enough to suit your needs with room for sleeping, living, and storage areas.

  • Look for a spacious opening that allows ample light and ventilation.

  • Caves with multiple chambers offer privacy as well as flexibility in usage.

  • Check for a high ceiling so smoke from cooking fires can dissipate.


  • Choose a cave in stable rock like limestone rather than loose material like sandstone.

  • Avoid caves prone to flooding during wet seasons.

  • Check that the cave does not have cracks, faults, or other features that could allow collapse.

Necessities for Cave Living

To successfully make the transition to a low-carbon cave lifestyle, you’ll need to gather certain essentials:


  • A sleeping mat or mattress stuffed with natural material like straw or leaves

  • Fur pelts or woven wool blankets for warmth

  • A pillow filled with feathers or other soft materials


  • Candles and oil lamps provide light without electricity

  • Have ample fuel supply like beeswax, tallow, olive oil, etc.


  • A fire pit with ventilation for cooking/heating

  • Cast iron cookware and utensils

  • Store of firewood collected from the surrounding area


  • Water containers like clay pots for collecting rain or transporting from a natural source

  • Simple water filtration like sand/charcoal to remove impurities


  • Chamber pot for personal waste

  • Designated waste area away from water sources

  • Composting pile for food scraps

Daily Life In Your Cave

Once you’ve moved into your cave homestead, here’s what a typical low-carbon day might look like:


  • Wake at sunrise (no need for alarm clocks!)
  • Light oil lamps or candles
  • Cook a simple breakfast over the fire like oatmeal or eggs
  • Get water from the nearby stream for drinking and washing


  • Read books or meditate by oil lamp light
  • Explore the surrounding forest to forage for fruits, vegetables, mushrooms
  • Collect firewood and kindling
  • Make repairs around the cave as needed


  • Prepare and eat a dinner of foraged foods and preserved items
  • Enjoy the quiet tranquility of the cave as evenings have no electronic distractions
  • Clean cookware and living areas with sand and water
  • Extinguish all flames before sleeping

Challenges of Cave Living

While it can reduce your carbon footprint, living in cave isolation also poses certain challenges:

  • Lack of healthcare – No access to modern medicine or hospitals

  • Difficulty staying clean/hygienic – Limited bathing, laundry, etc.

  • No climate control – Exposure to external temperature swings

  • Foraging for food – Requires time and effort spent hunting/gathering

  • Seclusion – Can lead to loneliness and mental health impacts

  • Safety risks – Threats from wildlife, injuries with no help nearby

So while cave life eliminates modern carbon emissions, the tradeoffs and difficulty of sustaining this lifestyle make it impractical for most. But incorporating some elements of simplified cave living can help anyone reduce their carbon footprint.