The Plan

Recently, in science, we have been looking at our ecological footprints. Here is the breakdown of mine:

Water use: +95

Clothing: +85

Stuff: +15

Shelter: +10

Transportation: +250

Fun: +130

Food: +80

Total: 665- My ecological footprint is about 6.65 hectares.

 

The average ecological footprint in Canada is 7.25 hectares, with 7.71 hectares in Vancouver and the highest being 9.86 hectares in Calgary with the lowest at 6.87 hectares in Greater Sudbury. These numbers represent the amount of ocean and land area it takes to support each person. Source

 

Currently, my numbers are highest in the water, clothing, and especially transportation categories. Some of the specifics that consist of my numbers are my…

  • clothes that are bought new (100 points)
  • time spent in a car with just my family (100 points)
  • daily garbage consumption that could fit into a shoebox (70 points)
  • household room-to-person average (70 points)
  • car which fits under the medium-sized car category (60 points)
  • computer and/or TV minutes that add up to over an hour (70 points)
  • showers that fit into the 3-6 minute category (60 points)
  • usage of two cars within my family (40 points)
  • activities that require between 1-2 hectares of land to be changed (40 points)
  • consumption of dairy products (40 points)
  • public transportation use (30 points)

In order to minimize my carbon footprint, I think it would be most productive for me to work on…

  1. my consumption of clothes that are bought new

I chose this one to focus in on because it is certainly something that is within my reach to control. It may be difficult to resist the temptation of sales and the like, but it would make a large difference in my ecological footprint. I will try to take time and think about whether I really need the article of clothing that I am tempted to buy or if I already have something similar, or even better, can make something similar myself.

2. my daily garbage consumption

I would like to decrease my garbage impact because it is one of the most prominent issues in our global climate change issues. We are creating much more waste than is sustainable! It can be hard to see just how much waste is created by oneself in a day, but I’m sure if I focused on it I would be able to see that it is manageable to reduce. I am going to try and track the amount of waste that I produce and work on being aware of when I am creating unnecessary waste. I will try to focus on alternatives to the waste I am creating.

3. my computer and/or TV minutes

Decreasing my time on technology is not only beneficial for the environment, but also the individual. This one will be challenging for sure! I rely on technology do do my homework, find my way around, and I spend a portion of my down time on technology as well. I have downloaded and app on my phone to track the minutes that I spend on it, so I will keep an eye on this as well as the trackers on my computer.

4.my 3-6 minute showers

I would like to tackle this one again! I have tried fitting my shower routine into a shorter period of time in the past and it has proved challenging, but what has been helpful is setting a timer so that I am aware of how long it actually takes me. From there, I can work on singing less and conserving our planets precious water sources more.

5. consumption of dairy products

This one has already been on my mind in a transition to a vegan lifestyle, so I am excited to start! I have stocked up on almond milk and I am ready to go!

The Reflection

my consumption of clothes that are bought new

  • I struggled a bit with not consuming new clothes over the past few weeks, with the summer coming and my trip to France to study french I have a list of things that I want to get before I go. I definitely could have done better with this one if I had taken more time to consider the environmental impact of these materialistic things that would be nice to have for a season.

my 3-6 minute showers

  • I set a timer for when I was in the shower so that I would be aware of the actual time that I was spending in the shower every day. This allowed me to set aside days where I would cut down said time. I also started washing my face out of the shower, because I don’t need the shower to do that and it shaves off just a couple of extra seconds of time.

my daily garbage consumption

  • I decided to start taking the kitchen garbage down so that I would be able to visualize the waste that my family produces on a routine basis. This definitely made me aware every time I opened the cupboard under the sink to toss something in the garbage, and helped me assess what could be done to prevent said item from ending up in a landfill.

my computer and/or TV minutes

  • Decreasing and limiting my screen time has been challenging for sure. I rely so heavily on technology to function in my daily life that distancing myself from it is more of a challenge than I would like it to be. While on one hand I crave leaving my Phone at home when I leave for a camping trip because it allows me to focus in on more important things, on the other I can hardly imagine trying to complete all of the various things I take on successfully while also limiting my use of technology.

consumption of dairy products

  • I have successfully cut out most dairy products from my diet! I have switched to almond milk (organic, natural vanilla flavoured almond milk to be exact), and I have not been consuming other forms of dairy except the occasional piece of chocolate, which I could replace with dark dairy free chocolate easily enough. I honestly am not noticing a difference with this switch. I didn’t eat too much dairy before, so now I am just avoiding processed and refined dairy products which is definitely not a bad thing. I don’t even notice a difference between cow’s milk and almond milk anymore!

 

Obstacles that I faced over the past few weeks have included…

  • Finding enough willpower
  • Finding the time to thoroughly process my impacts
  • Shifting away from what I am used to
  • Spending time to come up with plausible alternatives
  • Adapting back to a more basic lifestyle

 

The steps that I would take in future include creating and physically writing out a set list of expectations and guidelines for myself, so that I can be cognizant and brought back to earth when I am making decisions that impact my ecological footprint. This means carrying around a reminder to my commitment to the environment, and the specifics of what change I am expecting to make with what may alter that outcome. I would also ensure that my friends and family knew what I was doing so that I could get their support and would be low likely to remember myself. Lastly, I would document my progress as I make it, such as writing down all of the waste I did or did not create on any given day until I cut down my footprint and become consistent in this new and more sustainable lifestyle.

 

It it has been very valuable for me to consciously work on something that I care about and create an actual change in my influence to the environment, and I will continue to let my impacts be front of mind during my important decisions.