For our science 9 class, we were asked to fill out a form to figure out how large our environmental footprints are, then create a plan to reduce this footprint.
After evaluating my everyday actions I found out my environmental footprint was 10.6 meaning my footprint takes up 10.6 hectares. I scored the most points in food, shelter and fun. According to footprintnetwork.org, the average Canadian’s ecological footprint in 2016 was 7.7. Needless to say, my footprint is quite large compared to the average person. I did expect my footprint to be larger considering I live in two houses since my parents are split and my diet does consist of a decent amount of meat and dairy products.
10 things that make my footprint larger is living in two houses (my second home is considered a “vacation home” since this form didn’t consider people with split parents), having a high room to person ratio (also due to having two houses), eating dairy and meat, not eating organic food, spending lots of time on tech (which is kind of unavoidable considering the pandemic), spending time at places that have changed lots of land (like movie theatres, malls, etc), having two medium-sized family cars, producing a decent amount of garbage per day, getting almost all my clothes brand new and taking long showers.
5 things I will try to reduce my footprint are trying to produce less garbage per day, I can’t spend any time and places that take up lots of land right now anyways, I am spending less time in the car anyways, I will try to eat less dairy and I will attempt to take shorter showers.
For producing less garbage I will try to eat things that don’t use big bulky packaging but minimal packaging instead. When we go to the store I will also try to get items that have less packaging as food packaging takes up a majority of my waste per day.
For eating less dairy I will try to eat snacks that don’t contain lots of dairy and I will ask my parents to make dinners with less dairy but the final decision is up to their meal plan and budget for the week.
For shorter showers, I will attempt to take shorter showers but considering it now takes me 15 minutes fastest to shower I don’t think I will be able to reduce my time by that much.
Some of the changes that were easier to make for me was reducing my trash per day and the items that were already reduced by covid like the time spent in a car and time spent in places that take up large amounts of land. Reducing my trash was easier since I went to the store with my dad (since I was at his place this week) and we both tried to get food that had minimal packaging. This was very successful and I think I was actually able to reduce my trash to be able to fit in a shoebox.
My challenges came with reducing dairy and shortening my showers. While I did reduce my dairy consumption for snacks my parents made me dinners with dairy and I couldn’t change their meal plan since they already had it built and it was what worked best with the ingredients we had. Also as predicted I couldn’t shorten my showers. I think I may have shaved a minute or two off my time I wasn’t even close to having 10-minute showers. It just takes longer than that to get myself fully clean and refreshed.
While it was interesting to see my footprint and what I could do to reduce it I don’t think I will take steps in the future that will change it much. As I said before a majority of my points came in food, shelter and fun and considering I really enjoy the things I was doing for fun, I can’t change my housing situation and my diet is mostly not up to me and meat and dairy are staples in my diet I don’t think my footprint will be decreasing any time soon. Until next time!