Around the beginning of the semester, my environmental science class participated in
an activity where we each discover our own “Ecological Footprint.” An Ecological Footprint
is an amount of how much of a toll a human’s demands take a toll on the Earth’s ecosystem. It
also measure how many Earth’s it takes to support the lifestyle of human’s ecological
footprint. The assignment was to participate in an activity where it would provide an estimate
of each of our ecological footprint and provided the amount of productive areas in which our
human demands take away from. You can test out your ecological footprint here: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/
When I first participated in this activity, the amount of land it took to provide for my
demands was twenty three and six-tenths acres of land. The majority of the necessary land to
meet my demands is land that is used to make energy. The majority of my ecological footprint
consisted of food needs, and services. If everyone on Earth wanted to live the lifestyle that I
did, there would need to be five and a third Earth’s to provide for all the necessary resources.
I was ashamed of how much I was taking from Mother Earth every day. To change my
habits, I decided to try to cut down my ecological footprint and change some of my habits and
decisions that I have been making. Since most of my ecological footprint consisted of food
needs and services, I looked for ways to cut back on what I do in life and decided that I wanted
to make the smarter decisions that will help the environment.
I looked at what I could do and decided that I would try to cut back on using electricity
and gas in my house, try to carpool a little bit more with my friends, try to eat more foods that
are not microwave foods, recycle a little more, and try to eat more locally grown foods. If I
were to do this, I would use a lot less land for my needs and reduce the amount of Planet
Earth’s necessary to keep the Earth in a healthier state.
After changing some of my habits and my day-to- day lifestyle, I was able to achieve
some outstanding results. The amount of land necessary to live my current lifestyle is now
only sixteen and a half acres, about seven less acres than it was about two months ago. If
everyone wanted to live my current lifestyle, it would take three and seven-tenths Earths to
continue to flourish. This total is about one and a half Earths less than it was two months ago.
In nearly every category, I was able to decrease the amount of land that is necessary to sustain
But the most significant difference in my two ecological footprints was the differential
in how much energy land I need. This total was about two-thirds of the total I had two months
ago, accounting for the majority of the seven less acres that I needed previously. I was also
able to cut down on my microwave dinners and eat more locally grown foods which was able
to help the ecosystem survive.
Not only was I able to help the environment a little more than I was able to previously,
I feel healthier than I did two months ago. I have noticed that I have a little more energy in the
day, as well as a little more money in my pocket. The microwave dinners were not as filling as
some of the locally grown food that I bought. Because of this, I would eat more food causing
me to gain more unhealthy weight. But with the locally grown food, I was able to shed some
of my “bad weight,” and replace it with healthier weight.
I also was able to save quite a bit of money from gasoline for my car since I was
carpooling more to places that me and my roommates were all going to. Not only that, we all
agreed to use the air conditioner less as well as take shorter showers. This caused a dramatic
difference in our electricity and gas bill, so I think we will try to continue to stay on the path of
saving energy in our household.
I also was able to convince my roommates to try the ecological footprint activity to see
what kind of toll they are taking on the environment. By doing so, I think I have showed them
what their actions are doing to the environment, and perhaps they will try to make some
changes as I have.
Overall, my feelings about this activity are very positive. I learned that it is actually
pretty easy to make some changes in my life that will not only help the environment, but save
me some money and help me live a healthier lifestyle.