My ecological footprint total came to 9.5 hectares. I personally think that is a number on the higher side but considering everyone else’s results ranging from 6 to 7.5 to 16, I would say mine is average. Here are all my category subtotals (without being divided).
Water subtotal: 130
Clothing subtotal: 115
Stuff subtotal: 45
Transportation subtotal: 280
Fun subtotal: 170
Food subtotal: 200
My highest subtotal is transportation and lowest is shelter.
10 actions that currently increase my footprint
- Showering for more than 10 mins or bath is full +80
- Flushing the toilet every time I use it +30
- Not using water-saving appliances
- Buying clothes that are brand new +100
- Hardly ever wearing half of my clothes +40
- Creating a shoebox’s worth of garbage on a typical day +70
- Spending some time of the day on a public transport +30
- Being in a medium-sized car most often +60
- Spending some time carpooling +50
- Usually spending more than an hour on the computer and/or watching tv per day +70
6 actions from the 10 above that I will change to decrease my footprint
- Taking shorter showers- My showers tend to be 30% actual showering and 70% mindless thoughts and imaginative concerts. Cutting out the 70% would drastically shorten my showers and save water.
Concentrating on getting the shower over with and having a set routine would help time my showers and keep them to a limit. Having an eye on the clock and being efficient is a good strategy for taking shorter showers.
- Start using water-saving appliances- owning appliances that reduce the amount of power and water usage would bring down the water and electricity bill and help save our planet. They typically aren’t that expensive, are easy to set up, and drastically change the water usage from what I’ve heard from other places. My mom is also interested in setting some up in our house and knew it will be a change for the better of the house.
I will search around in stores for some water-saving shower heads to help with taking shorter showers and find some tips/tricks from the internet to save water. There are many videos and blogs that teach you life hacks and finding the right ones for my house will help save our water usage.
- Reducing the amount of newly bought clothes- while I don’t go clothes shopping all that often, there are times where I would want an article of clothing but not need it. Setting this as a goal will help me keep a tab on what’s necessary and what’s not.
The next time I go to the mall, I will have a list of necessary items and try to stray away from things that aren’t on the list. That way, I won’t waste money on random things and keep my clothing to a minimum of essentials.
- Wearing the full capacity of my clothes- I have only a few items from my drawers that I wear on a day to day basis and bags of clothing I have no interest in. While most are them are too small and outdated, it’s better to donate them than to let them sit in my closet, never seeing the light of day.
Finding organizations that take in clothing donations and repurpose them is a great way to get rid of my unwanted clothing. Having a closet cleanout would also be a good way to sort through all my clothing and find things I would want to wear.
- Creating less garbage on a typical day- I am unhappy with the amount of garbage I create and would like to lessen the load. Earth’s landfills are growing every day and doing my part to filter out my waste would be a great contribution to a cleaner planet.
Some of my waste can be either recycled, composted, cleaned, and reused. Making sure to sort my garbage into recyclables, compostable, and reusable each with its own bucket will help me stay organized.
- Spending less time on the computer- I am aware I spend way too much time on the internet with the endless nagging from my mom and the physical messages I give myself. Keeping a limit on my computer time will not only make my mom happier but also save electricity.
Setting a restricted time limit will keep me in check and going outside for once will help get my mind off my devices. Going on a hike, playing sports, and hanging out with friends, will not only push me to socialize with people but also be active. Yay! The weather is also transitioning into summer where there will be a lot more opportunities for me to go outside.
The easy changes were taking shorter showers, wearing more of my clothes, and finding water-saving appliances. Ever since having a routine of timed actions while showering, I’ve found a pace that works for me and helps me lower my water usage. While with my clothes, I haven’t found the time to do a whole closet cleanout but as summer roles closer and the weather begins to heat up, I’m starting to wear a lot more of my summer clothes while also keeping my warmer clothes for those cold days. Over one of the weekends, I’ve had time to dig around my closet and find things that I would wear but never got around to trying them on. My wardrobe is a lot bigger now and I don’t need to buy new clothes any time soon. Finding water-saving appliances were a lot easier than I thought. I searched the mall and found some water-saving showerheads at London Drugs and some other useful items. One of the tips I learned from the internet was to collect the running water from the shower while waiting for the water to heat up and to use that to water plants or any other task that needs water. So instead of getting new water, we can salvage the running water from the shower and reuse it.
The difficult changes for me were restricting my computer time and creating less garbage. Most of my school work is online and they need to be completed on a computer. While I have spent some time out of the house, I’ve been trapped in my desk chair finishing homework for most of my time. Its been hard trying to reduce the amount of plastic and waste I make just because almost all the items I need come in plastic containers, especially the food for Stein Valley adventure trip. I would need more time to find products that contain less garbage but implementing some strategies to create less waste to my like such as using cloth shopping bags instead of plastic ones and reusing containers could help.
Some obstacles I encountered was the lack of time I needed to do things and just the general difficultness. I had no time sorting out my closet and the groceries I needed contained unavoidable waste. But even after finishing this project, I will keep on working on my new lifestyle and will hopefully overcome the obstacles as time goes on.
For the future, I definitely think I can shrink the size of my footprint. After this experience and learning about the environment, I’ve come up with many ways for me to stay green. Teaching the rest of my family the strategies and informing my friends as well will help spread the word.