As someone who has never calculated an ecological footprint before, I didn’t know whether a 7.45 hectare footprint was average or way off the mean. However, after comparing to Jerome’s 8.35, Yoonha’s 7.35, and Shubham’s footprint of 7.05, it seems I am somewhat around the average. Unless I was really unlucky with the people I talked to about it, then I should have an around average footprint. While calculating my footprint, I also saw what kind of actions truly increase my footprint. The following being:
- Buying brand new clothes
- Taking 15-minute showers
- Watering the garden every week
- Driving for more than an hour everyday
- Hardly ever wearing about 3/4 of my clothes
- Spending more than an hour on the computer/TV everyday
- Eating non-local food
- Using hot water
- Eating non-organic food
- Flushing the toilet everytime
Some actions that I will change or reduce that will positively impact my ecological footprint are as following:
- Lowering my shower time to a quick 1-2 minute instead of my regular almost 15 minute showers. I chose this change because not only am I saving vast amounts of water, I am also saving lots of time in my day as I could be spending the time doing something else instead of standing in the shower.
- I have also planned to do is reduce the amount of times I water my garden from every week to almost triweekly (somewhere in between biweekly and triweekly due to some flowers and plants needing water to survive in case of drought.) I chose this reduction because it has minimal impact and inconvenience on my life, but also greatly reduces my ecological footprint.
- Another plan of mine is using cold water for everything. This seems pretty easy regarding washing dishes and clothes in cold water, but may prove to be a bit of a struggle when washing hands or showering. However, I believe that I will be able to pull through especially now that my showers will only be 1-2 minutes. I chose this change because it isn’t a huge disruption to my daily life as well as the fact that I live with a family and cannot make drastic changes. However, it still makes a big difference to my ecological footprint.
- Wearing more of my clothing is a big one. Currently, I have around 3/4 of clothes I don’t wear. This is a drastic number because I only wear the clothes I like. I chose this change because I want to make full use of my clothing and make sure none of it goes to waste.
- Eating more local-foods is another concept I will strive to achieve. I chose this change because it is surprisingly convenient for someone who lives in a place like B.C. In the west coast, it is much easier to get fresh and local foods because it is more of a cultural and ethical value here. Not only is it simple, it is great for the environment and it is a boost to the local economy.
After following this concrete plan for just over a week, there has been some significant changes in my lifestyle. Following the list above I will describe my personal experiences. The showering goal seemed quite simple and easy to accomplish for me, but as someone who is used to taking long and slow showers, it was a drastic change. There were so many times where I just told myself “a few more seconds” but luckily, I managed to get out of there in under 2 minutes with the idea of this plan in mind.
About the garden plan, it has been a great success. All I did was wait until my flowers looked dehydrated and then I watered them. Although I said I only followed this plan for just over a week, the gardening plan obviously took more than a week and I am still currently following it through. For my first watering, I managed to last to around two weeks before some plants looked a little unhealthy. This wasn’t as great as my goal but it was still a positive change.
Using cold water for everything has been interesting to say the least. Regarding washing dishes and clothes it was like I predicted, very easy. Hand-washing had its struggles but was nothing too hard for me to handle. However, showering in cold water has posed a problem because it takes me quite a while to get into such cold shower while also following my 1-2 minute shower plan. These two goals seemed to clash due to my inability to tolerate cold in a short period of time. However, I still managed to accomplish both goals simultaneously.
Wearing a larger variety of clothes was also a great and simple accomplishment. In fact, my friends in school, including TALONS students, have noticed that my outfits have been a bit different from usual. Although I didn’t tell them it was for my ecological footprint, it was definitely noticeable as my normal style of clothing seemed to vanish. This goal is still currently going on as my wardrobe is in a constant state of change right now as I am trying to even out my distribution of wearing to this day.
Eating more local-foods turned out to be the hardest goal. This was due to the price of local groceries and foods. At certain scenarios, the price of the local grocery could be vastly more than the imported version. This did pose a little bit of an obstacle for me because my family was not so keen on spending so much extra money. However, I managed to come to a compromise and although I couldn’t change my whole diet to local foods, it was definitely a significant increase from my usual diet.
In conclusion, I managed to complete all these goals to some extent. However, I know that I can do much better and go much further. That is why I not only plan to keep working on these changes, but I also plan to further dissect my ecological footprint and change or reduce other things in my life to get closer to a small footprint. I also plan to inform others about ecological footprint as it is a fascinating thing I have just learnt about but is extremely useful.