Ecological Footprint

The Plan 

According to the questionnaire I filled out, my ecological footprint was 9.37 hectares. The highest contributor to my rather high ecological footprint was transportation, with the subtotal being 290. This is super high because my family owns 3 cars, and I usually use both a bus and a car to get around during the day. But this may not be 100% accurate, as one of my cars is electric, and we don’t often drive another one. The second highest contributor to my ecological footprint was the Food category, where I had a total score of 245. Next up, I had a score of 130 for water, 110 for fun, 85 for clothes, 40 for shelter, and 37 for stuff.  


Comparing myself to past TALONS and my classmates, I believe I am in the middle to the high end of the ecological footprint spectrum. I got similar results to Colby and Ben who had 9.05 and 10.07 Hectares respectively as their footprint, compared to my 9.37 hectares. I got less than Hailey, who got 14.5 Hectares, but much more than Mel who had 6.95 Hectares. 


10 actions that increase my ecological footprint: 

  1. I take showers for over ten minutes. 
  1. My family washes cars every second week. 
  1. I produce 1 shoebox of garbage daily. 
  1.  I don’t avoid non-disposable items. 
  1. I spend More than an hour on a computer. 
  1. I take both public transit and private vehicles to get around during my day. 
  1. Only Some of my food is grown in BC 
  1. Only some of the food I eat is organic 
  1. I eat meat and dairy products 
  1. My sports activities use around 1-2 hectares of land. 

5 Actions I can take to reduce my footprint. 

  1. Reduce my showers to 2 Minutes (or turn off water until I need to rinse) 
  1. Reduce my garbage from one shoebox to one cup. 
  1. Encourage my family to only water our lawn when absolutely necessary, and only wash our cars every few weeks. 
  1. Avoid non-disposable items that will end up in a landfill 
  1. Encourage my family to buy more organic produce that is from BC. 

How I can do this: 

  1. I can reduce my shower time from over ten minutes to two minutes by setting 2-minute timers for myself. This can let me know when my time is up, and I have to finish up. I can definitely utilize the water on to rinse, and then water off to soap method so the water is running far less. 


  1. To reduce my garbage to 1 cup daily, I can limit my usage of non-disposable items by intentionally avoiding them. I can also use a cup to put all my garbage in, so I can gauge how well I am limiting my garbage output and make further decisions on how to reduce it from there. 


  1. Encouraging my parents and family to water our garden less and wash our car less will be one of the easier tasks. I can simply just ask them to reduce the number of times they wash their car. Additionally, I can offer to wash my parent’s cars, allowing myself to better control when the cars are washed. 
  1. Avoiding non-disposable items goes hand in hand with reducing my garbage output. To do this, I can try to be mindful of what non-disposable items I am using. I can do this when shopping and at home. Though the world is a strange place right now, I can still take steps to try and reduce my usage of non-disposable items. 
  1. I can encourage my family to buy more local food by accompanying them when shopping, and showcasing local options, as well as simply asking them and informing them of the benefits when one buys local.  

The Reflection 

Out of all the steps I took to reduce my ecological footprint, the easiest change to implement was reducing the length of my showers from 10+ minutes to two minutes. This change was easy to make, as I didn’t really notice a difference between a ten- and two-minute shower, except that I saved more time on the latter. I used a phone alarm to alert me of my time in the shower, to know when to speed up or slow down. Another change that was easy to make was reducing the number of times my family washed our cars and mowed our lawn. Making this change was honestly not too hard, as our cars haven’t been used in a while due to Covid-19, and we haven’t washed them in a while. Still, moving forward I will try to limit the number of times my family uses water. 


One change I took to reduce my ecological footprint that was the hardest for me to implement was reducing my waste and my usage of non-disposable items. Making this change was tough, because currently I am having allergies, so my usage of tissues and other similar non-disposable items added up. My family and I did take steps to reduce our waste though. For example, we switched to reusable cloth napkins from paper ones to decrease the number of napkins we are going through. Overall, though, I was able to implement most of the changes without much struggle. 


The biggest obstacle I faced during the implementation of my plan was being in somewhat isolation due to Covid-19. I found it harder to be proactive about reducing my ecological footprint, as I couldn’t actively shop for local BC produce, and I couldn’t avoid non-disposable items because I wasn’t out shopping. I feel like I didn’t have as much control over some of the changes as I wanted to. 


In the future, I plan to continue reducing my ecological footprint by continuing to take short showers. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to reduce my shower length, and I quite honestly liked the change. I saved a good chunk of time that I would’ve otherwise spent showering, and I felt more productive with my time. Additionally, I am saving water which reduces my ecological footprint. 

Ecological Footprint Calc (click to see calculations)


Ecological Footprint Project Spring 2020 new version (click for grading sheet)



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