Part 1 – The Plan
These are my calculations for my ecological footprint. My footprint is 8.68 hectares. I was 1.32 hectares under the class average of around 10 hectares. When I compared my score to Tori (9.27 Ha) and Carter (10 Ha), my footprint was significantly smaller, which told me that to an extent, I could still consider myself as a ecological friendly person. However, there were people such as Mackenzie (6.77 Ha) and Deon’s (7.75 Ha) who had a lower score then me, so I know there are many things I could work on to decrease my footprint.
From my ecological footprint calculations, these are the 10 things that increased my footprint the most:
- Wearing more of my clothes (I only wear ½ – ¾).
- Length of my typical shower (10 or more minutes).
- The amount of garbage I produce in a day (shoe-box size).
- Use of non-environmentally friendly household products (only half).
- Long car rides each day (1/2 hour to an hour).
- Time spent on technology (More than an hour).
- The total amount of “disposable” items such as pens, cameras, drink containers (quite a bit every day)
- The amount of dairy products I eat in a day.
- The amount of food I eat that is not home grown (some of the food is grown in BC, but not all).
- The hectares of land changed to make space for fun activities (ice rink, basketball court).
Most of the items on this list are things that I can improve if I am more aware, which I have now been working on. These are 5 examples of how I plan to decrease my ecological foot print:
Don’t buy clothes unless necessary!
I’m a “shop-a-holic” which means that I have enough clothes in my closet to wear a new outfit every day of the month and still have extras! Since my mom usually donates our old clothes to homeless shelters, over the next few weeks, I will find some old clothes I don’t wear and add them to the pile.
Shorten my showers to 5 minutes or less!
For this goal, there are a few things that I can do to shorten my shower time. One is to collect cold water in the shower until it is at the temperature I want the water to be, which can be used in many ways, such as watering my vegetable garden. Another is to shower in the morning with a timer so I am encouraged to get ready faster and I can see how long my showers are so I can strive to be more efficient.
Reduce the amount of garbage I throw out to the size of a cup!
This is going to be the easiest footprint to shrink if I watch where I’m throwing my garbage away. Since compost and recycling are easy methods of reducing waste, I will work on throwing away my garbage in the respective piles. In terms of garbage in my family, we use a lot of ziplock bags to store food items in the fridge. I will encourage my mom to re-use ziplock bags by cleaning them, or to use an alternate method such as containers.
Use other means of transportation!
Since everything is spread out nowadays, it is hard to travel without transportation. However, for the sake of my ecological footprint, I will try to make some changes. The first one is to walk home every day. Although I normally take a bus (which beats car), walking is still a superior alternative. I will also encourage my family to do the same as this is a great method to exercise as well!
Spend less time with technology!
I imagine that this footprint will be one of the harder ones to shrink as technology plays an important part in my life. My main use for technology is homework as with a laptop, I can get my work done faster and more efficiently. Technology is also great to work on projects simultaneously with your peers. However, for the sake of my footprint, I will work with paper and pencil more and turn to other forms of entertainment such as reading and going outside.
Part 2- Reflection
After a few weeks of trying to cut down my ecological footprint, some of my ideas were easier to execute and some were harder than expected. Below is my reflection while trying to reduce my footprint.
One change that I found easy was to spend less time in the shower. I realized that I often don’t even use all 10 minutes in the shower, and I often spend time watching water flow on top of my head. If I was being mindful of the time (the timer idea was excellent), I could take a 5-minute shower during the busy morning feeling. Another change that was easier then expected was not buying any more clothes. Once I rearranged some of my closet, I found clothes that I have never worn which was a great substitute to buying new clothes and ended up donating 1/10 of my closet to homeless shelters as well. The final change that I found to be a smooth transition was being careful of what would end up in the garbage can. I would avoid plastic bags and, if necessary, re-use them to create less waste, which resulted in less total garbage going out. These changes were easy fixes I could have started a long time ago, and I’m glad that this assignment made such a big difference on how I create a smaller ecological footprint.
Some changes I found difficult then expected was lessening my transportation and technology footprint. I would say that walking home after school (which is a 1 hour walk up hill with usually a large load of school stuff) was difficult, especially in hot or rainy weather. I also tried to carpooled to parties and cadet trainings with people that lived near me. Another thing I found difficult was using less technology as I found it harder to get my thoughts down on paper. Since our science lesson was done as a group, it was more convenient to use Google Docs to work on our project together. However, I did shorten my entertainment time using the computer and resorted to other means such as reading and playing outside. Overall, I realized that some changes are just harder to make if you’ve been accustomed to live in a specific way your whole life. However, since those are the ones that make a difference, it is important that I think about them and make small improvements until I reach my goal.
My biggest obstacle was the fact that since I was so busy, I kept forgetting that we had to be thinking about this project in our daily activities. Another obstacle was attempting to sew some of my old clothes. I didn’t have the right sewing material or the right expertise to guide me, and honestly, this one was a last priority for me which was very unfortunate.
In conclusion, this assignment made me realize how much I could shrink my ecological footprint. Some small changes can make a big difference in the big picture and I will continue using these techniques in the future; buy less clothing, walk home from school, set a timer while showering and more. I feel like this will really contribute to the environment in a positive way!