Ecological Footprint

What is an Ecological Footprint?

An ecological footprint is the impact of a person or community on the environment, shown as the amount of land needed to maintain their use of natural resources.

What did we do?

In our first semester in science 9 TALONS, we were given an Ecological Footprint calculator sheet, where we had to fill out a questionnaire, and use that info to find out what our Ecological Footprint was in hectares.

For me, my footprint was 12.45 hectares.
The calculation page itself was actually pretty fun. Also, after I finished it, I found myself questioning where my food came from, keeping in mind how much garbage I threw, etc. It was quite cool.

When I first found out about my footprint, I thought it was quite low, but when I looked at others:

Mine and my peer’s footprints.

I realized I was among one of the highest footprints in the class.

How did I reduce my footprint?

I was first tasked with identifying a minimum of 10 things from the Footprint Calculation sheet that is currently increasing my footprint.
I had a bit of trouble with choosing, but I eventually settled on these 10 things:
(some of these weren’t on the sheet itself, but they were relevant enough in my life for me to include them).

  • Changing the amount of trash I have per day from a basket to a cup
  • Using less hot water when washing the dishes
  • Making sure to make the fire smaller while cooking
  • Wear something warm on cold days instead of turning on the heater
  • Use fewer tissues every day
  • Walk to where I’m going even more
  • Reduce screen time a bit
  • Start using the “double-sided” print option more
  • Try to eat more organic foods
  • Start recycling old clothes more instead of throwing them out
  • Try using the water we use to wash the dishes, wash the rice, etc. To water the plants.

Next, I need to choose a minimum of 5 from that list to actually start to try changing, say why I chose them, and specifically describe how I will try changing these 5 actions to reduce my footprint.
I chose these ones in the end:

  • Changing the amount of trash I have per day from a basket to a cup
    • I chose this one because I really do have a lot of trash each day, and the more trash I have the more it affects the wildlife around me. Who knows if one of my empty chips packet ends up in the forest, and something eats it, thinking its food. I’d feel so guilty.
      How will I try changing this?
      I will try changing this action by being more mindful of how much I throw away each day. For example, I have a bad habit of throwing away a lot of issues, and that’s one of the main factors in why I have so much trash. Instead of getting a new one every time, I could save a relatively clean one for the next time, so I throw less away.
  • Wear something warm on cold days instead of turning on the heater
    • I chose this one because I honestly feel like we could save so much money for my family if we just wore something warm instead of turning on the heater every time. Plus, I feel very cozy in the warm clothing.
      How will I try changing this?
      I will try changing this action by wearing something warm on cold days instead of turning on the heater, like a wool sweater or hoodie.
  • Reduce screen time a bit
    • I think I need to reduce my screen time a tad bit because my eyesight isn’t the best already, and I don’t want to keep making it worse. Also, long times in front of screens also impacts my own health, which is not something I want.
      How will I try changing this?
      Currently, my screen time per day is about a nifty 7 hours, which I think is complete overkill. I’ll be reducing that bit by bit each day from 7 hours to maybe a 4 or a 5. I just want to treat my eyesight a bit better, you know? My plan of action will be to set timers for 1 hour, then take a break, and then do another hour, and then take another break, and repeat that.
  • Walk to where I’m going even more
    • Even though it’ll be very tiring, I’ve read up on global warming and heard about the effects of fossil fuels on the world. I want to help by walking to my destinations even more than I am now.
      How will I try changing this?
      I will try changing this by simply walking to my destinations more. Even when I did walk, I would be driven to the destinations mostly. Unless it’s super far away, I’ll start walking to my destinations even more than usual. However, I may have to adjust my schedule to fit this new change, such as waking up earlier on school days to walk there.
  • Try to eat more organic foods
    • I want to eat more organic foods to help support the use of organic farming practices that reduce pollution. They might also be healthier for me, as they have fewer pesticides, hormones, fertilizer, and antibiotics.
      How will I try changing this?
      When shopping for groceries with my mom, I will try going out of my way to find organic foods (that aren’t too expensive) to eat in place of non-organic foods.
  • Use fewer tissues every day
    • I think I use a lot of tissues per day right now, and because tissues come from trees, the more I use, the more trees cut down and wasted by me.
      How will I try changing this?
      Like I said when explaining my plan for how I’d change how much garbage I throw out every day, I also throw out a lot of tissues. I want to change this by being more conservative with my tissue use, like using a relatively clean old tissue to clean things next time, instead of grabbing a new one.


1. What changes were easy for me to make and why?

Definitely, some of the easier ones were wearing warm clothing, reducing my amount of garbage every day, and using fewer tissues.

I found wearing warm clothing instead of turning on the heater to be relatively simple, and it actually made me warmer than the heater would’ve. Plus, with the days now getting colder, doing this has just naturally slipped into becoming a part of my daily routine. Additionally, just wearing something warm was honestly more cozy compared to turning on the heater.

Reducing the amount of my garbage every day wasn’t too difficult. At first, I found myself struggling to limit how much trash I made, but as time went on, I developed this skill of minding how much I threw away and it eventually got a lot easier. I starting using fewer tissues, I consumed less food that came with a small plastic packet (like chips or Wagon Wheels), and I wasted less paper by using up every inch of it before throwing it away.

The last one wasn’t too difficult either. Seeing as this was basically a common habit of mine back then, it was a bit hard to completely stop. However, after some reminders from my mom, some serious self-control, and imagining that I was killing the trees with each extra tissue I pulled, I am now much more conservative with how many tissues I use on a daily basis.

2. What changes were difficult for me to make and why?

Definitely, some of the more difficult ones for me was reducing my screen time, walking to destinations even more, and eating more organic foods.

I found reducing my screen time more difficult because I’m just so addicted to my electronics. Plus, I lose track of time while on my electronics. For example, when I’m playing some games on my computer, thinking it’ll only be a few minutes, only for me to blink, and realize that almost half an hour had passed. I managed to solve this problem by setting timers for myself. For example, I would set a timer for exactly 1 hour to do things on my electronics and then took a break after. This helped remind me of how long I’ve been in front of the screen, and also acted as a reminder to take a break. However, I failed to completely reach my goal in the end.

Another change that I found difficult to make was walking to my destinations more. I’ve mostly been driven to places, and so changing to walking almost the entire time was a bit hard. I hadn’t really built up the stamina to walk this much yet. However, I found that the more I walked, the more I built up that stamina, and the easier it became. Another problem I encountered was also the fact that I needed to wake up a bit more early to accommodate this. However, I sometimes just went back to sleep after snoozing through the alarm. To counteract this, I made multiple alarms, all within 5-minute intervals so even if I do go back to sleep, I would still be woken up again.

Finally, eating more organic foods was a bit of a challenge because my family simply doesn’t buy a lot of organic produce. Even after I convinced them to include organic produce into my budget, I still encountered the problem of buying the food itself. At Costco, we rarely find any organic meats that we would actually use for recipes, and sometimes, it’s somewhat expensive. However, with vegetables, there were plenty of organic options, and a few of them weren’t too expensive either. They didn’t taste better or anything in the end, but at least we were helping the environment.

3. What were some of the obstacles I encountered?

An obstacle that I encountered was definitely finding time to do all of these things at the same time. For example, I constantly needed to worry about how much screen time I was spending while I was doing homework was kinda stressful, and made me sometimes rush things on my assignments (I fixed those parts in the end though)

Another obstacle I encountered was just simply needing to be consistently doing these changes every single day for 2 weeks. For the first few days, it was hard to do, but as time went on, and as I got used to them more, it got gradually easier.

Also, an obstacle that I faced was just the motivation to start doing it. I didn’t have much motivation to do any of this extremely seriously at the start, but when I thought about how I would be affecting the environment if I did, and making myself feel proud was just the right motivation to start taking it more seriously.

4. What are some steps I plan to take in the future?

One step that I’m no doubt planning on taking is to keep working on my screen time reduction change. I’ve currently only reduced it to 6:30 hours, which is only a 30-minute reduction. I personally think that it’s a good step in the right direction, but I think I’ll start having to restrict myself, even more, to reach my goal in the future. A step that I can take to ensure this is by procrastinating less while doing my work, so I can quickly get that done, and have the leftover free time to do whatever I want. Currently, procrastination is one of my major enemies while doing this change, and it’s extending my time on the computer way too much.

Another step that I’m planning on taking is just to simply start hiking more to build more stamina. Logically, the more stamina I build, the easier it would be to walk longer distances. As of right now, I’m comfortable with walking to school and back without much trouble, but any longer than that and I’d get tired. I’m planning on using a trail near my house as my main practice route, as it’s a good length, and goes both up and down.

Thank you for reading, leave a comment, and check out my other blog posts as well!

– Dylan

2 thoughts on “Ecological Footprint

  1. This is awesome!! I like the way you wrote it out so neatly, added stuff on, and just generally did a good job. Also, your blog has the coolest theme ever.

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