PART ONE – PLAN
The pictures above are the calculations of my ecological footprint. My footprint is 9.27 hectares. This really surprised me, as I did consider myself a fairly ecological friendly person before this test. I didn’t have the highest score out of everyone I asked, but I was certainly in the upper part of the ranges that I compared myself too. The average of the class was around 10 hectares, so I was under that, but there were a lot of people I talked to who got significantly lower than me, proving that I do have a lot of room for improvement, which I will be talking more about later in this blog post.
From my ecological footprint calculation, I created a list of ten things that were increasing my footprint quite a bit. Here is the list:
- Length of my typical shower (10 or more minutes).
- Wearing more of my clothes (I only wear half often).
- Sewing some of my own clothes (I haven’t sewed any of my own clothes).
- Using ALL environmentally friendly household cleaners (only some of our family’s are).
- The amount of garbage I produce in a day (shoe-box size).
- Riding in a car for quite awhile each day (1/2 hour to an hour).
- Using more than two cars within our family (three cars).
- The time I spend on technology (More than an hour).
- The amount of food I eat that is not home grown (some of the food is grown in BC, but not all).
A lot of these things seem like they would be easy fixes, but I have just never paid specific attention to them before. However, I created a plan to help reduce my ecological footprint by reducing five of the items above. This is my plan:
Try to have quicker showers, around 5 minutes long.
There are a few specific things that I can do to help me achieve this goal. One big one is to not start the water in the shower until I am actually in the shower. This can be a waste of water if the shower is running for awhile before it is actually needed. As well as this, I could set a timer so that I can actually see how long my shower is, and that will help me stay more aware of the time I am taking and water I am wasting to try to be efficient as possible.
Wear more of the clothes I own, and pass down old ones rather than throwing them out.
This one will be pretty simple to improve on. Over the next few weeks I will try to use clothes that I haven’t for a long time, and if I find any that are too old, or that I don’t like anymore, I will donate them to a clothing bank or find someone to give them to rather than just throwing them in the garbage and creating that extra waste.
Reduce the amount of garbage I use in a day down to the size of a cup.
The amount of garbage I use in a day could definitely be improved. A big part of this is using plastic baggies in my lunch. I have my main things in containers, but I usually put a few snacks in plastic bags, and therefore end up creating more waste than I need to. I will bring containers for my full lunch for the next while. I can also try to reuse any Ziplocs that I do use, and wash and save them for the next day.
Ride in the car for less time each day, and try to ride in a smaller, more fuel efficient car.
Before leaving the house each day, I will think about my options to get to my destination. If there is an option to take public transit, walk, or ride my bike, I will choose that over getting a ride. As well as this I will try to get my parents to drive me places in our smallest car, rather than our truck, to conserve energy.
Spend less time on technology.
I use technology a lot in my life, especially for homework and netflix. I use it for homework because I am a faster typer than writer, and therefore I can get my homework done faster if I use my laptop. However, to lesson my ecological footprint I will try to take notes on paper rather than my laptop, and will also try to use other forms of entertainment rather than TV, like reading, or going outside.
PART 2 – REFLECTION
After trying to cut down on my ecological footprint, I realized that some parts were a lot harder to do than I expected, and as well as this, some parts were easier than I expected. This is what I found while trying to reduce my footprint:
There were a few parts of this that I found really difficult. I would say the thing that I had the most difficulty with was spending less time in a car. This was hard for me because I went cross catchment to Glen Eagle, and live a 20 minute drive away from it. This means that I have to drive to and from school every day in a car. I did carpool every morning and most days after school, but it made it difficult to cut down on the amount of time I spent in a car. Another thing that I found difficult was to try to wear clothes I don’t often wear. If I thought about it, then it was easy enough, but often when I got dressed in the morning I wasn’t consciously thinking about it and just picked clothes from near the top of my drawer automatically. However, some days I did manage to wear some clothes I hadn’t worn for awhile. One final difficulty was typing notes on paper. I find it really hard to get all of the information down with a pencil and paper because I am slower. However, that would most likely improve after a little while of taking notes with a pencil and paper.
One of the changes that I found was easiest to make was reducing my amount of garbage. As long I was being mindful of what would later end up in the garbage can, I could avoid it for the most part. What made the biggest difference was bringing containers for all of my lunch rather than baggies for some. Another change that I found easier than expected was using other forms of entertainment other than Netflix. I started reading a lot more, and also found myself going outside more which helps with both conserving energy and for health in general. One final change that I found to be a smooth transition was cutting down on the time of my showers and the amount of water used. As long I was thinking about the amount of water I was using, I found it fairly easy to cut down the time of my shower. While I could not cut it down to only five minutes, I did cut it down somewhat, and I will continue to work on it.
I did have a few obstacles stopping me during these few weeks. One was just plain forgetting to be mindful of my footprint. This got easier to remember as the weeks went on, but in the beginning, since it was a change, I had troubles remembering what I could do to help reduce my footprint. Two other obstacles, as I mentioned earlier, were my distance away from school, and the speed of my writing. Also, I found finding places to give my old clothes to was an obstacle at the beginning, but then I managed to find a clothing drive at my old school, and donated some old clothes there. Finally, another obstacle was that I couldn’t always ride in our smallest car because it was being used by someone else. Sometimes, I did drive in our truck some places, which isn’t as fuel efficient, but that wasn’t in my control.
In conclusion, this project made me realize how much I could be doing to help reduce my ecological footprint, and how easy it is to take those small steps and how big of a difference they really make. In the future, I will continue using these techniques, like taking notes on paper,reading instead of using a screen, and using containers rather than plastic bags. I will also try to buy less unneeded clothing and try to use public transit or biking more often than taking a car. Hopefully, I will be able to reduce my ecological footprint even more as more time goes by!