The total size of my ecological footprint was 9.40 hectares. When comparing my score to some of my peers, I believe my score is on the higher end of the spectrum.
Anya = 8.85 hectares
Devon = 6.75 hectares
Tyson = 11.16 hectares
Ben = 10.07 hectares
Ten actions which increase my ecological footprint
The main contributors of my large ecological footprint were taking unnecessarily long showers, spending too much time using technology, owning a four-door vehicle, consuming non-organic + dairy/milk products, having some first-hand clothing, producing too much waste, eating farmed and wild fish, spending too much time in vehicles, taking public transit, and needing some equipment for my activities. There are many changes that I can make to reduce my ecological footprint, but here are the five actions that I chose to change.
Five actions to reduce my ecological footprint
- Reducing my time spent showering from over ten minutes to under two minutes. Taking long showers waste a lot of water, which I understand is very impactful on the environment. I wanted to make this change because I often take my access to water for granted, and the water that I waste can be used for much better purposes. In order to my time spent showering, I plan on timing myself and reducing the amount of water dispensed from my shower head. I believe these changes will be fairly easy to implement, while still greatly reducing the impact I have on our environment.
- Refrain from including fish in my diet. I think that eating organic foods is out of the question for my family because my parents believe it’s too expensive of an investment, so I decided to try and eliminate fish from my diet. When we eat as a family, the dishes are set on the table and there are many different options to pick from. If possible I will ask my grandparents to cook with other proteins, if this isn’t possible I will move the fish to the farthest end of the table, to avoid temptation.
- Remove milk products from my diet. I drink quite a lot of milk with my meals, but sometimes I don’t drink enough water. I think that switching over to water is a very beneficial and simple change for my lifestyle. According to the newly created Canadian Food Guide, milk is not a necessary component of a healthy diet anymore, and water is strongly encouraged as the drink of choice. Removing milk products from my diet will reduce my ecological footprint. As well, water is a great choice to stay hydrated. I believe this change will be fairly easy to make, I just need to set reminders for myself to drink more water.
- Reducing the amount of waste I produce. I produce quite a lot of waste in a week, which isn’t very good for the environment. I believe reducing my waste will be a difficult journey, but definitely one that’s worthwhile. I think the problem is that I use products which are pretty heavy in terms of packaging and end up producing quite a lot of waste. Since I’m also reducing the amount of yogurt and other dairy products I eat, I’ll be able to decrease waste because of less food product packaging.
- Spending less time in vehicles. In a typical school week, I would usually take public transit to get to Gleneagle. Most of my time is spent on buses and typically not in cars. I believe that spending less time taking public transit will be made fairly easy because of social isolation during the current pandemic, but I’d still like to cut down on the amount of time I spend riding in a car. If I plan on going anywhere, I’d like to instead use a bike or just walk/run to my destination. Biking is always very refreshing and doesn’t take too much energy, as well, I probably won’t need to bike over long distances. I think COVID-19 is the perfect opportunity for me to reduce my time in cars and buses and take time to travel slowly and enjoy the nature around me.
What was easy to change? What was difficult to change?
Two weeks have gone by, and it’s been a pretty long journey. One of the easiest changes to make was removing farmed and wild fish from my diet. Almost every few days, my grandparents would make a dish which included fish in some way. Sitting at the opposite end of the table from the fish ended up working very well and made reaching over the table too awkward and decreased temptation. Another pretty simple transition was spending less time in vehicles. I ended up biking a lot with my dad around our neighborhood, and I didn’t really need to go anywhere. With the pandemic, this change was made pretty easy, but I’m afraid I’ll have to continue taking public transit when the pandemic is over, and I have to return to school. Reducing my shower time to two minutes was also an easy change to make. All I had to do was set a timer and step out when the timer ran out. I also reduced the amount of water my showerhead dispensed to conserve more water. I happened to have a few mishaps when removing milk products from my diet over these past two weeks. I found my action of removing milk products challenging because a lot of the milk products I consume on a weekly basis such as yogurt or cheese have become a routine, and sometimes I forgot that my action included all milk products. I found changing from milk to water very simple yet beneficial, but I found it difficult keeping up a conscious guard of milk products which I had familiarized myself with. I think reducing my waste was by far the most difficult action to make. I found regularly keeping track of the waste I produced fairly strenuous. Removing milk products from my diet turned out to be beneficial towards this action, as since I removed yogurt and milk, there was much less waste in terms of packaging.
One of my obstacles was getting used to starting to shower with cold water. Typically, I would wait for the water to get warmer before I showered, so the change took a bit of time to get used to. At first, I had some trouble getting used to the cold water, but the water gradually got warmer, and with time I ended up getting used to the process. Another obstacle as I had mentioned before was consciously keeping a guard against the milk products which I had already implemented into my daily routine. Sometimes I would forget my action and slip up by eating a cup of yogurt. Another obstacle I had
I’ve always wanted to try visiting a thrift store, because there are really cool and unique items that can be reused for environmentally friendly purposes. Shopping at a thrift store would definitely be something I would like to move towards in the future. I think this action would be a great step for me towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. For the future, I would also like to purchase more organic food products and buy consumption products which are BC grown.