A couple of weeks ago I was given a sheet that let me calculate my ecological footprint, and I think that this project has given me the knowledge and a great opportunity to do my part lower the overall score after a while.
My Ecological Footprint vs others’ Ecological Footprint: (Hectares)
- Water use = 80 points
- Clothing = 105 points
- ‘Stuff’ = 402 points
- Shelter = 40 points
- Transportation = 155
- Fun = 140
- Food = 195
- Total = 1117 points
- Total/100 = 11.17 Hectares
The main reason why mine was higher than average was from the 400 point bonus because of the pesticides, which is the key to lower mine right now.
Here are ten things that increase my Ecological Footprint:
- Spending more than a couple minutes in the shower every day +60
- Flushing the toilet every time +30
- Owning some clothes that I don’t wear +40
- Using non-environmentally friendly pesticides +400!
- Using garbage on a daily basis +30
- Owning a house with more than two rooms per person living in it +70
- Spending time in a vehicle throughout the day +40
- Participating in activities that require “some land to be changed” +40
- Spending a little too much time on a device sometimes +70
- Only some of the food I eat was grown organic and in B.C +40
Here are five things that I am willing to work on:
Spending more than a couple of minutes in the shower. I think this is one that I can try to lower because I know that I take a little bit longer than my parents, but I also know that if I want to do this than I am probably going to have to come up with a strategy to shower more efficiently like rinse time, or even amount of soap used.
Owning some clothes that I don’t wear. This one is a bit of an easier one for me because my family has already been donating to organizations like Big Brothers. I know that there are at least some clothes that aren’t worth keeping, it’s just a matter of spending the time to do it. I’m talking about a day that I set aside and make some sort of a pile of clothes that I no longer need.
Using non environmentally friendly pesticides. Unlike some other areas, this one will really lower my score if I can manage it, but it will be tough for sure. After chatting with my parents about it, the only thing we could think of that would go under this category was the ant spray that we use, which seems like something that would be important in my mind.
Using garbage on a daily basis. Although it’s not very much garbage, I thought I might as well do it as well, since we actually used to not use any garbage at one point, so it shouldn’t be too hard. It’s mainly just stuff like Ziplock bags that don’t need to be thrown away if we take the time to manually recycle them.
Spending a little too much time on a device sometimes. This one is also pretty simple. I know that there are plenty of things to do outside with my friends around the wonderful neighborhood that we live in, but the one thing that I am wondering about is whether online school counts, which would be a problem.
(My goal is to try to lower it to around a 7.5 H!)
What was easy to change?
I already kind of had an idea going in what aspects were going to be simple, or difficult to change. First, I had to find a day that I was free, go through my closet, and pull out any clothes that I thought I would want to give away. We can no longer hand things down to people we know around us, so we have to wait for Big Brothers to come. (Which is once every couple of weeks to a month).
The next thing that my family and I had to adapt to was not using any more garbage. It was going to be way too hard to completely cut it out of our life, so we decided to focus on plastic bags. Ziplock bags are used quite frequently, so we just had to go back to what we used to do, which was collecting them in a recyclable plastic bag, and driving down to the depot each week.
What was difficult to change?
Same as the easy changes for me, I pretty much already knew what I was getting myself into. Although I already am wasting a lot less water than I used to, I don’t think it is the best I can do yet. Each time I showered I had to think of one thing that I can do more efficiently, and even though it was hard, I was able to get it down to two minutes by the end of it all.
This is where it starts to get confusing. Like I said before, the only pesticide that we use is ant spray, yet it only ever comes out in the summer usually, so I don’t know how I would be able to do something about it right now. All I could really do is plan ahead some alternatives for next summer. (Which there are a lot of).
What are some obstacles I encountered?
Especially right now, it has been pretty challenging finding time to get outside during the week with homework and the extracurricular activities that I do. It doesn’t help that sometimes it rains all day either.
What are the steps that I plan to take in the future?
I previously mentioned that my family plans on switching from the typical Ant Off spray to something more environmentally friendly. After doing some research, I found that there are a lot of ways to get rid of ants. All things like planting mint, mixing vinegar and water in a similar spray bottle, pepper/cinnamon, etc. This upcoming summer we are going to try out some new things and see if we want to continue it from there.