Ecological Footprint Calculations
Based on my calculations from the questionnaire, my ecological footprint is 8.8 hectares. Comparing to my peers, I had a lower footprint than Hailey that had 10.6 hectares and Evan who got 9.36 hectares. I had a similar footprint compared to Indah with 8.2 hectares but I had a substantially higher footprint when compared to Avery who calculated 6.77 hectares.
10 actions that currently increase the size of my footprint:
- Taking showers for 10+ minutes
- Buying some of my clothing brand-new
- Producing enough garbage to fit into a shoebox every day
- Spending some time traveling in a car each day
- Spending more than one hour on my laptop every day
- Having a medium-sized car as the car used most often
- Having the majority of the food I eat grown outside of BC
- Eating mostly non-organic food
- Consuming dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
- Consuming lots of meat
5 actions to reduce my ecological footprint:
- Taking shorter showers: I take long showers and by reducing the amount of time spent in the shower, my overall water usage will decrease, resulting in a lower ecological footprint. I also feel that taking long showers is a bad habit I have and by starting to reduce the time I spend showering now will spark a change and build good habits for the future.
- Producing less garbage daily so it can fit into a cup: I currently produce enough garbage to fit into a shoebox every day and I think that the amount of garbage I produce can and should be reduced. Recognizing my actions is the first step and by attempting to reduce the amount of garbage produced will cause me to become more conscious of how the garbage I produce carries toward my footprint.
- Spending less time on my laptop every day: Although I do have to use my laptop daily for online learning purposes, I am spending an excessive amount of time on my laptop doing activities like watching Netflix. Limiting my laptop usage for unnecessary activities will lead me to become more productive and have time for other actions like going for a walk or doing in-depth.
- Reducing my dairy consumption: I chose this action because I consume a lot of dairy products. Right now is a good time to try to minimize the amount of dairy I eat and I feel that it will not be very difficult to make this change.
- Reducing my meat consumption: Again, I feel like I eat a lot of meat. Reducing my meat consumption wouldn’t hurt and I also feel that this change will be quite easy to implement.
I am aiming to take shorter showers. To do this, I am going to set a timer whenever I take a shower so I am aware of how long I am spending showering. I will set a 10-minute timer so that when I hear it go off and I am still showering, I will know that it is time to start wrapping up. This will be effective because, for the first few days, I can recognize how much time I am actually spending in the shower and work to reduce the time over the next week or two.
To reduce the amount of garbage I produce each day, I am planning on having a cup that I will put all my garbage inside. By doing so, I will be able to monitor how much garbage there is and make changes accordingly. I will also make a conscious effort to reduce my unnecessary use of items like paper, food packaging, and drink bottles.
To spend less unnecessary time on my laptop, I will have a limit on how much time I can spend on my laptop for activities that do not pertain to school work. I am going to be limiting myself to 1 hour each day and tracking the time by setting timers whenever I am using my laptop for an activity like watching Netflix.
To reduce my dairy consumption, I am going to limit myself to 1 cup of dairy each day. This should keep me on track to consume less dairy in general. I will also ask my parents if we can have dinners with less dairy. I will try to ear dairy-free snacks and include a good balance of other food groups.
To reduce the amount of meat I eat, I plan to communicate with my parents about the meat we are purchasing and how dinners will look like. I can control what I eat for breakfast and lunch because those are meals where I make my own food, but for dinner, it is mostly up to my parents on what we’re having.
Some of the changes that were easy for me to make were taking shorter showers and spending less unnecessary time on my laptop. The timer method worked well for taking shorter showers and by the end of the two weeks, my shower duration was around10 minutes instead of 10+ minutes. I was also able to reduce the amount of time I spend on my laptop for activities like watching Netflix quite easily. By setting timers, it reminded me of how much more time I had left. By spending less time on my laptop, I had time for other activities like going for a bike ride to get fresh air or baking cookies.
Some of the changes that were difficult for me to make were reducing the amount of meat I eat, reducing dairy consumption, and fitting all my garbage into a cup. I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to reduce meat and dairy consumption but I was proven wrong. Since my dinners were based on what ingredients we had at home, it wasn’t easy to control. I did make an effort to eat less meat and dairy throughout the day, but when it came to dinner, I did not have control over that. Although I think I did reduce the amount of garbage I produced, I wasn’t successful of fitting it in a cup. I do think that my amount of garbage decreased but it was difficult to get to a point where I was only creating enough garbage to fit into a cup.
An obstacle I encountered was not having control over some of the meals that I ate during the two weeks. I couldn’t completely change my diet due to the fact that our dinners were based on the ingredients we had or what was available at the store. I didn’t have full control over what I ate and that caused it to be more difficult to consume less dairy and meat.
For the future, I hope to continue to implement some of these changes. For example, the shower timer worked really well and I hope that I will keep taking shorter showers because it is reducing my water usage. Spending less time on my laptop when I came will also be a change to implement and continue. I also think that I can continue to work on the amount of garbage that I am producing. This assignment made me more conscious of my actions and how these actions can affect my ecological footprint.