“An ecological footprint measures humans’ consumption of natural resources against the Earth’s ecological capacity (biocapacity) to regenerate them.” – RESET
Would you believe that we consume more than our planet can produce?
According to the Global Footprint Network, their calculations show that it takes the planet 18 months to regenerate everything that we use in a 12 month period. In 2017, Earth Overshoot Day was August 2nd – meaning that by that date we have taken more from nature than our planet is able to renew in the whole year.
There are many simple things we can do to reduce our ecological footprint. Here are a few:
- Keep the thermostat relatively low in winter and ease up on the air conditioning in summer. Keep your A/C filters clean to keep the A/C operating at peak efficiency.
- Unplug your electronics when not in use. To make it easier, use a power strip. Even when turned off, items like your television, computer, and cellphone charger still sip power.
- Dry your clothes naturally whenever possible rather than using power-guzzling tumble dryers.
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. Look for local, in-season foods that haven’t travelled long distances to reach you. Organic and other forms of low-input farming that use minimal or no pesticides and fertilisers – which are energy intensive in their manufacture – consume up to 40 per cent less energy, and support higher levels of wildlife on farms.
- Choose foods with less packaging to reduce waste.
- Plant a garden! Growing our own fruit and vegetables reduces all the energy and waste which normally goes into getting food from the field to our plates – such as transport, refrigeration and packaging. In your garden you can compost food waste as well.
- Buy less! Try to get your things repaired – this supports local business and avoids waste. Replace items only when you really need to and try to buy quality products that will have a longer life-span.
- Recycle all your paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic.
- Take shorter, less frequent showers – this saves water and the energy necessary to heat it.
- Don’t drive when there is an alternative! Walk, bike, or take public transport whenever possible. If you don’t own and drive a car on average you can reduce your total ecological footprint by as much as 20 per cent. Using it less will reduce your footprint, helps to avoid traffic jam and keeps your city’s air cleaner.
There are many things we can do to reduce our footprint in the world, contributing to its wellness. You don’t need to be a scientist to come up with little solutions that make the difference. There are no excuses to join in and choose wisely for our world.
Are you reducing your ecological footprint?