The Ecological Footprint

Have you ever heard of the term “ecological footprint?” And if so, do you know what your ecological footprint is? According to the Global Footprint Network, the ecological footprint measures how fast we consume resources and generate waste compared to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate new resources. At the beginning of the school year, one of the first things we did in our environmental science class, was to calculate our ecological footprint, which you can do as well, right here. On this website, you answer a series of questions about your lifestyle. At the end, they tell you how many planets it takes to support your lifestyle, if everyone lived like you. I don’t really remember how earths I had, but unfortunately, it was more than one.

Knowing my ecological footprint really made me think of how I impact the environment. Every day, we all do so many things, not knowing how they impact the environment, or maybe not even knowing that they impact the environment at all. Out of the top five major causes of environmental problems, one of them is ecological ignorance. We just don’t know what we are doing to the environment. That’s why we NEED to teach environmental science in schools. If we don’t, people won’t know the changes they can make to help our earth.

The Global Footprint Network has calculated that if everyone had the same lifestyle as the average American, we would need 5 planets to sustain everyone. This is pretty embarrassing, in my opinion. Americans use up so many resources compared to several other countries. There is a way to live comfortably with enough food and water and clothing and shelter, without using up every single thing on the planet. If you read my post about the Possibility Alliance, then you are familiar with what I am talking about. The people who lived there, on the self-sustainable organic farm, found a way to do this. Of course a lot of the things that they do, we wouldn’t consider comfortable, but we could easily make adjustments. It just depends on how much you care.

 

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