With so many discussions regarding environmental impact and issues, it can be hard to understand how sustainable choices are actually measured. In addition, for some individuals it can be hard to see how our lifestyle and own actions are impacting the planet directly, or to see how the sustainable changes we are making are contributing towards creating an impact.
This is where the ecological footprint comes in. The ecological footprint is the measurement of human demand upon the environment:
It can tell us the amount of environment (both land and sea mass) needed to produce goods and services necessary to support a particular lifestyle. 它可以告诉我们需要多少环境(包括陆地和海洋)来生产支持特定生活方式所必需的商品和服务。
It can also be used to measure government, business and country-wide impact too! 它也可以用来衡量政府、企业和全国范围的影响!
For individuals however, it is an interesting tool offering perspective on what we are doing, and how much we need to do, to sustainably improve our lifestyle as resource efficient.
The Global Footprint Network offers an encompassed, accurate ecological footprint calculator which you can find here, to calculate what your own ecological footprint is!
How does it work?
The calculator will ask you questions based on your average consumption, travel habits and also your home, to name a few. After the questions, you will be shown your score based on how many planets are needed if everyone lived the same lifestyle as you do. It can also provide you with information about what a country’s average ecological footprint is for comparison. Using planets as a measurement scale creates an easier visual for individuals to process and understand overall. The ecological footprint calculator acts as a guiding measurement for individuals to understand the real impact of their consumption demands, improving their efficiency of resource choices and to become waste aware.
We are living in a world where we are creating more than we need, using it too quickly and disposing of remains in piles by tons; all while polluting our land, water and air in the process. Understanding our own ecological footprint contribution is important because there are over 7 billion footprints to account for altogether, but only one planet to cope with all this demand.
The significance of the ecological footprint measurement is that it can kickstart new sustainable lifestyle changes; supporting the urgency for a change from individual action. It offers individuals a starting point to compare to later when they are implementing these sustainable behaviours as habits. This supports our belief of, gaining a greater number of people living zero waste lifestyles imperfectly, than a small handful of individuals living a completely zero waste lifestyle.
You may have also heard about a carbon footprint too. However, a carbon footprint is different to an ecological footprint. A carbon footprint measures the amount of CO2 generated by a particular lifestyle, rather than the amount of environmental mass needed. This can also equate to how many tonnes of CO2 are produced by your own lifestyle. Carbon dioxide measurement is not just based on travel choices; it can include food miles from eating imports over more local foods, as well as the amount of plastics you use and throw away. For example, for every 500ml plastic water bottle there is 82.8g of CO2 released into the atmosphere, which is extortionate!
Depending on the calculator used this can also be shown by how many planets would be needed to live that particular lifestyle. It can also demonstrate the impact through the number of trees needed to combat your polluting choices too. Your carbon footprint can be calculated here.
What do you think?
Do you think having a measurement tool like the ecological and carbon footprint is useful for change to happen?
Use the links provided to find out what your footprints are! Browse through our website or get in contact with us if you need advice on how to lower your overall footprint!