Ecological footprint assignment

The plan:

Calculation of your footprint

My ecological footprint is currently 11.05 hectares.

Comparison of your footprint to those of others

Judging from the ones I saw, my ecological footprint is higher than average. This surprised me, because I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible! After realizing this, I was motivated to try to decrease my footprint. After I get into habits of changing my actions, I’ll take the survey thing again to see how much I’ve improved, and what still needs improvement.

Ten actions that currently increase the size of my footprint

  • Taking long showers
  • Not always washing my clothes in cold water
  • Watering the garden a lot
  • Not wearing a lot of the clothes I own
  • Driving when I could be walking or biking
  • Garbage
  • Not re-wearing my clothes much
  • Warming up the house instead of wearing a sweater in the winter
  • Having lots of screen time
  • Not repairing damaged clothes

Five actions to change

  • Spend less time in the shower
  • Wear some of the same clothes I wore yesterday
  • Have less screen time
  • Water the garden with re-used water
  • Fix clothes with holes in them

Why?

I chose these actions to change because they are actions that are relatively easy to do, but for some reason I haven’t been doing them. They’re actions that could make a big difference if I changed them.

Describe specifically how you will try changing these actions to decrease the size of your footprint

1. Spend less time in the shower

I currently spend 10 to 15 minutes in the shower. I used to spend way less, and I’d like to get back to at least 5 minutes, because any more than that isn’t really necessary and wastes a lot of water. I have a little hourglass thing I can stick to the side of the shower to measure how long I’ve been in there and when I should get out. I will aim for 5 minutes, but challenge myself to do 3.

2. Wear some of the same clothes I wore yesterday

At my dad’s house, I usually do this, because I don’t have as many clothes there as I do at my mom’s. At my mom’s house, though, I rarely re-wear my clothes. I want to start doing that because it wastes a lot of water to wash clothes after only one use, and there’s no reason not to wear them again. I think it won’t be too hard to remember to do this.

3. Have less screen time

I really have to work on this one. Between animation, YouTube, Discord, music, homework, art, and TV, I spend way too much time on the screen. I want to fix this for a few reasons, one being my own health, as well as the planet’s. I think one way I can work on this is to put on a stopwatch whenever I’m using screens. This will show me how much time I really spend on screens, and after that, I can set some goals for myself to decrease my screen time.

4. Water the garden with re-used water

When I water my tree collection, I usually get my water from the sink. However, there are much better places to get it from, like bathwater and water bottles with leftover water. My plan fo accomplishing this is to get a watering can of water from the bath every time someone has one. This will also remind me to water my plants, so it’s doubly as useful! Also, whenever I get home from school, if I have water left over, I can use that, too.

5. Fix clothes with holes in them

I have many clothes with holes in them. I usually wear them anyways because I don’t really care, but it’s probably better to fix them because if I ever want to give them away, people probably won’t want clothes with holes in them. I will accomplish this by setting aside a day to fix my clothes.

The reflection:

Describe some changes that were easy for you to make and why

It was rather easy to decrease my time in the shower. I couldn’t find my hourglass thing, so instead I played a song in my head twice to keep track of time and know when I should get out. The song is about 3 minutes long, so that means when using this strategy, I spend around 6 minutes in the shower. That’s half of what I used to! It was also pretty easy to re-wear my clothes, because I kept running out of pants at my mom’s house. It was annoying, but convenient. Watering the garden with re-used water was also easy, but not for the reasons I intended. Since it’s fall now, it rained a lot and most of my plants are outside, so I barely needed to water them at all. It’s definitely something I can work on during the summer, though.

Describe some changes that were difficult for you to make and why

It was super hard to have less screen time. I’d say I probably failed on that one, because a few days ago, I binge-watched a season and a half of Gravity Falls and The Owl House between doing homework (also on a screen). It wasn’t much better other days, either.

Describe some of the obstacles you encountered

One of the obstacles was definitely forgetting to change my actions. For the screen time one, I kept forgetting to time myself, and when I did remember, I accidentally left the stopwatch on after I turned off my computer, so I never actually got an answer to how much time I spend on screens. I also forgot to mend some clothes until the last day possible. Other than that, I kept forgetting to do the actions in general (except the shower one, though sometimes I did lost track of where I was in the song, so an hourglass still would’ve been better).

Describe the steps you plan to take in the future

I want to keep improving my shower time. Even if I halved the time, it’s still not as good as it used to be. I can accomplish this by challenging myself to be faster and faster each time. I also want to work on saving water for my plants. The last thing I want to work on is my screen time. I’ve heard that there’s apps to monitor the time you spend on screens, so I’ll look into getting one for my computer.