Day 37: Calculate your Ecological Footprint


Source: NASA/NOAA, 2015

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that you’re just a drop in the ocean, and that changing your actions isn’t going to save the world? Or that you don’t really matter in the global scheme of things?

Well, it turns out, if I don’t change the way I live, and everyone else acts like me, we’re going to need 1.9 Earths. So yes, I should definitely be concerned about my individual actions (but if you’re not using more than one Earth, go you! You’re already golden. Or green, I should say).

I took this quiz to figure out my ecological footprint. It takes a look at what you eat, how you use transportation, and what your housing situation is like, to see things like how much carbon dioxide you’re releasing in the air, how much water you consume, and how much “land” you occupy with your eating habits. The results are frightening. We are using more of the Earth than the Earth can provide for us – that’s called “ecological overshoot” – and it’s getting worse. We currently need 1.6 Earths for all our needs.

You might say that doesn’t make sense. How can we use more than what we have? Well, if we use one “Earth” in a year, that means that we have another “Earth” to use next year, because the Earth replenishes its own resources through cycles. However, if we use more than one Earth, we’re borrowing resources that we shouldn’t and altering cycles in a way that they can’t be completed within a year. Things like trees, fish, minerals, clean water, air, and land aren’t going to get replenished.  By using 1.6 Earths, we’re taking away more from the Earth that it can give us. That means that every year, there will be less and less schools of fish, forests, rivers, and clean air – until we start to scramble for the very resources our lives depend on (but hopefully we’ll take action so it doesn’t get to that!)

So, you think you’re not that big of a deal?

Take the test, and find out how much your actions are impacting the Earth. Wouldn’t you rather face the facts so you can know what you’re up against?

(The cool thing about this quiz is that it shows you which area needs improving – check it out!)






1 Comment

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One response to “Day 37: Calculate your Ecological Footprint

  1. Pingback: Day 39: What does “sustainable” mean? | The Earth Tribune

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