What's your Ecological Footprint?

October 06, 2009

Written By: Chris Keeley

By now, most people have heard of a carbon footprint, the estimate of an individual or group's greenhouse gas emissions. But what about a broader tool?  One for measuring our overall impact on the global environment from our lifestyle choices such as what we eat, where we live and how we travel? Ah hah! Allow me to introduce you to the ecological footprint.

I recently went online to EarthDay.net to find out what my ecological footprint is. Before I share my results, keep in mind that I do utilize Wildcat Transportation and the Amtrak Downeaster, I recycle as much paper and plastic as possible, turn off all lights not in use, and generally make an effort not to be wasteful. Well, after about 5-10 minutes of punching in data I learned what my ecological footprint is: 22.3 global acres. That's how many acres of the Earth's productive area it takes to support my lifestyle despite my good intentions, which equates to the need for 5 Planet Earths if everyone lived like me. Wow. Needless to say I am working to further reduce that number!

I encourage you, the reader, to surf on over to EarthDay.net to discover your ecological footprint. Please post your results and your reaction! You may be surprised. I know I sure was. Fortunately, the end of the quiz provides a breakdown of your ecological footprint and ways to reduce it. Good luck!

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