A great tool for a great cause

Do you want to know how much stress you’re putting on the environment and how to reduce this impact? Calculating your ecological footprint is a great place to start-- the calculator measures the effect you have on the environment. Though your results may be shocking, not where you want them to be, or quite frankly upsetting, calculating your ecological footprint will allow you to see what areas you should focus on improving in order for your lifestyle to be more environmentally-friendly.

We’ve included a link to a ecological footprint calculator at the end of the article that will estimate your eco footprint after answering a series of questions, taking no longer than 5 minutes. First you will have to enter your email (don’t worry, they won’t spam you), then you will be asked a series of 13 questions. The questions are split into three main categories: the food you eat, your housing, and your transportation habits. These questions are aimed to estimate the amount of nature’s resources it takes to support you and your lifestyle.

Your Results and How to Improve

You may feel overwhelmed when you first see your results, but there are many solutions to reduce your ecological footprint. Improving your consumption in even just one of the categories below can greatly reduce your eco footprint and more importantly, help the planet.

Let’s start with food. There are two easy ways you can lower your consumption: reducing the amount of meat you eat, and reducing your waste. Raising animals for human consumption leads to the use of a lot of fertile land, crops, and water, and factories emit a lot of greenhouse gases. Reducing the amount you purchase meat, even if it’s only by one meal a week, can make a positive difference. Attempting to reduce the food you waste in general can make a large impact as well-- try to eliminate the amount of food you throw out. Find other uses for food that is about to go bad, and try to only make and buy as much food as you think you need.

When it comes to housing, making sustainable upgrades to your household can make a huge difference. Anything from installing solar panels, to lowering your use of air conditioning and heat, to installing LED light bulbs can help. Check out our Get Your Sh*t Together series to read more about what upgrades you can make to different rooms in your

In regards to transportation, try carpooling or using public transportation more. Driving to work and know a coworker lives on the way? Offer to give them a ride. Driving into the city? Think about taking public transportation instead. Reducing the amount of energy waste you create is a great way to lower your eco footprint and help the environment.

So what now? We recommend trying to improve your daily lifestyle in as many ways as you can. Even little things like carpooling once a week can have a big impact over time. Slowly but surely, we can all help to make the Earth more sustainable.

What else makes this calculator special?

Your results are displayed in a variety of fashions that allow you to hone in on the best ways to improve your lifestyle. We’ll break down what each of the sections of results means to help you best understand your results.

Your Personal Earth Overshoot Day

“Your Personal Earth Overshoot Day,”  displays the date that if everyone in the world lived the way you did, we would have depleted the resources that the Earth can renew in one year.  This is significant because there is only so much we can deplete our natural resources until they disappear. Improving the way you eat, household upgrades, and carpooling can help lengthen your Earth Overshoot Day.

Number of Earths

The number of Earths displays the number of Earths  we would need if each person on the planet lived in the same way you do. This number takes into account both your own personal use as well as societal impacts like roads and public services. In order to improve this number, both individual and societal changes need to take place.

Global Hectare Calculations (don’t be scared, we didn’t know what this was either)

The second page of results displays waste produced in gha, or global hectare, a measurement used to calculate consumption. Global hectare is based off the ecological footprint of humans and the capacity of the Earth’s resources-- one global hectare is the world’s yearly amount of resources for human use per hectare of biologically productive land, where a hectare equals 2.5 acres.

Your Ecological Footprint

Your ecological footprint is the amount of usable land required to produce everything you consume. Our Earth currently has enough resources for approximately 1.7 gha per person. Your carbon footprint is shown both in tons per year and as a percentage of your total ecological footprint.

Now, It’s Your Turn

Ready to calculate your eco footprint and learn how you can make your lifestyle more eco-friendly? Click this link from the Global Footprint Network.

http://www.footprintcalculator.org

 


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