Ecological Footprint

PLAN

 

After three days of recording, I came to the conclusion that my ecological footprint is approximately 7.2 hectares. Studies show that the average ecological footprint of a Canadian is 7.5 hectares and the average ecological footprint of the world in 2012 was 2.84 hectares. The average of my close group of friends is 6.1 hectares. Compared to Canadian standards and my friends, my ecological footprint is pretty good but could use some work. Here are ten actions that currently increase my ecological footprint and five steps I will take to reduce it.

 

Ten Actions that Currently Increases the Size of my Footprint the Most are…

1. Transportation

2. Shower Usage

3. Second Hand Clothing

4. Reusing Clothing

5. Land Use for Play

6. Consumption of Food from BC

7. Helpings of Meat

8. Plastic Containers for Food

9. Garbage

10. Living Space

 

Five Actions that Increases my Ecological Footprint and How I Will Decrease It

1. Transportation

Every day I always travel to far locations by car, whether it’s to school, dance, or fencing. This increases my ecological footprint a lot because by travelling for long distances, our car uses up gas which is bad for the environment. By taking a car rather than carpooling, busing, biking or walking, I am one more person who adds to the problem, rather than working to reduce gas usage. My plan is to decrease the amount of time that I travel from location to location. For example, after school, rather than travelling all the way home and all the way back for my fencing class, I can stay in the area. I could go to the mall, or stay in the car and finish homework, or spend time with my mom. This way, I save time from travelling and reduce my ecological footprint.

 

2. Shower Usage

As a synchronized swimmer, I took a shower almost every night because of my frequent practices. Now, even though I quit Synchro, I have the habit of showering too often, and for too long, which uses up a lot of water. I need to focus on taking shorter and less frequent showers. Whenever I use hot water I tend to stay in the shower longer, so to add to my plan, I will use lukewarm water when I’m quickly washing up. By using lukewarm water, I prevent myself from getting too comfortable and staying in the water for too long.

 

3. Second Hand Clothing

As I child I got many clothes from my mom’s co-workers, but now as I get older I grow out of them and use my more newer clothes. Additionally, because I have no siblings, there is no one that can give their old clothes to me. Using second hand clothing is good because I won’t buy any new clothes from companies with high ecological footprints. My plan is to get second hand clothing from my mom. She is the same size as me and has a lot of clothing, and even though some teenagers don’t like wearing their parent’s clothes because it “isn’t cool”, I don’t mind.

 

4. Reusing Clothing

Other than my hoodies and PJ’s, I don’t reuse clothing. I have many clothes, so I never found the need to use them more than once, and I got used to throwing them in the laundry at the end of the day. This increases my ecological footprint because the more clothes I use, the more I have to clean them in the laundry and this is bad for his environment. I will focus on reusing my clothes more often. For example, if I wear an outfit to school, I can reuse it again on the weekend if I don’t go out anywhere. I can wear a different hoodie on top but have the same shirt underneath.

 

5. Garbage / Food Packaging

Most of the time, I help the environment by bringing my own lunch to school in reusable containers and a thermos. The problem is, whenever I buy food, it comes in ‘convenient’ plastic wrapping or containers. This is bad for the environment as it adds to the amount of garbage in the world. I will try and recognize when I can avoid using and throwing away garbage. For example, if I forgot my spoon at home, rather than getting a plastic one from the cafeteria, I will use and wash one from the TALONS classroom. If I have a ketchup bottle, I will use that instead of the small packets. There are many small daily steps I can take in order to reduce my garbage intake. I will ensure that I sort them into the correct containers as well.

 

 

REFLECTION

 

Easy Changes

1. Transportation

My goal went well. Whenever dance or fencing ended, rather than going all the way home, I stayed at the mall, or went to get bubble tea with my mom. It was good because I saved time from travelling, could concentrate on homework, and spend time with my mom. Additionally, I took an extra step and focused on driving with my electric car. If our electric car and non-electric car were both available to take to school, I would ask her to drive me to school using the electric one. We saved more gas this way.

 

3. Second Hand Clothing

I asked my mom about reusing her clothing, and she lended me some, which fit me and looked good. It turns out, she has a lot of good clothes that I can reuse. Over time my wardrobe is getting more of her clothes, and now sometimes I can’t even tell her clothes from mine. I found this helpful because since I dislike shopping, I don’t have to shop any more.

 

4. Reusing Clothing

Reusing clothing was useful and made my life simpler. By reusing clothes, I didn’t have to wash as many in the laundry. I mostly reused my hoodies and track pants, but I would also reused my leggings, shorts, and sometimes t-shirts. Although this might have been a bit risky hygiene-wise, it was a pretty easy goal to achieve.

 

Hard Changes

2. Shower Use

Even though using lukewarm water was not that appealing compared to having a hot shower, I still carried out with my goal. I focused on showering less frequent, and only allowed myself to use hot water on Thursdays. It was effective but a couple times I still caught myself staying in the shower too long, but I improved over time. The only instance where I broke my rules was after the Bowen Island adventure trip, where I took a really long and hot shower because I needed one after the trip.

 

5. Garbage

I feel like this is one goal I could have improved. A lot of the time I forgot to follow my goal, and my garbage intake didn’t decrease. I did focus on sorting things into the correct containers, but I didn’t avoid plastic wrappers as I planned to. My goal was pretty hard to achieve, since many items already come with garbage that you can’t get rid of. For example, if you buy chips from the vending machine, it still comes in a wrapper. The biggest accomplishment I had, related to this goal was when I went with the Scott Creek trail cleanup group and helped to remove garbage from the ground.

 

Obstacles I Encountered

  • For transportation, my original goal was to walk, bike, or take a bus rather than drive. The two problems with that is that my school is really far away, and I would have to wake up really early and travel a long a long distance. My parents wouldn’t let me walk or bus alone, anyways so it wouldn’t work. Since I couldn’t focus on changing my mode of transportation, I instead focused on the distance and usage of my cars.
  • For my goals of showering less and reusing my clothing, I was concerned about bad hygiene. I focused on showering and changing my clothes on days when I exercise, to prevent it from getting worse.
  • I was also concerned that I would forget about my goals. On my to-do list, I put a reminder in big bold and highlighted capital letters so whenever I went to see what I had to do, my eyes would draw towards the reminder and I would remember about my goal.
  • There are also some things I can’t change. For example, I can’t change my living space, even though it takes a high toll on my ecological footprint. Also, I can’t really lower the amount of meat I eat because I still need some for my health. I focused on the things I could change, instead of the things I couldn’t.

 

Future Actions

In the future, I will continue to improve on the goals I already set. I think that they all went well and if I continue to do them, my ecological footprint will stay low. Eventually, my family is buying another electric car to replace my gas car so that will help to lower my footprint even more. I will also take small steps everyday, and bigger ones such as volunteering with Scott Creek in order to keep my footprint lowered.

 

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