After completing the survey, I found out that my ecological footprint was 8.36 hectares. Compared to the everyone in my class, my number was relatively average. Many of my friends had a result of a number around eight hectares. At this point, I knew that there were still many things I needed to change to decrease the size of my ecological footprint. I have come up with ten things I will adjust for the next month to reduce the amount of resources I use.
- One of the actions I take that increases my ecological footprint is taking long showers. The average time I spend in the shower is approximately twenty minutes. I take a shower every other day, which means I spend around seventy minutes taking showers every week.
- I buy new clothes often, even when it isn’t necessary. However, I do have an older sister who I receive hand-me-downs from, which is pretty good.
- Something else that increases my ecological footprint is the household appliances in my house. Not all the appliances my family uses are environmentally friendly.
- My family always turns on the heater during winter, which adds a lot more to my ecological footprint. Nobody in my family is used to wearing thick sweaters at home, even in the winter, but I will make sure we try to use that option instead from now on.
- I usually spend an hour or more in a car every day. Most of my extra-curricular activities are in New Westminster, which means transportation takes up a lot of my time. Unfortunately, because of the distance, I ride in my parents’ cars for long periods of time.
- We have nine rooms in my house, not including bathrooms. For every person who lives in my home, there are three rooms. That number is considered a bit high. However, there isn’t anything I can change about this within a short amount of time.
- I usually spend more than an hour on technology per day, whether it be for homework or leisure. I would say on an average day, I spend approximately three hours on my phone, laptop, or watching TV.
- A large portion of the food I eat is not completely organic. It could have been grown with pesticides, or preservatives were added into the product.
- The garbage I typically throw out in a day would fit into a small garbage can. I could reduce that amount by using reusable items more often, then all my garbage could probably fit inside a shoebox, or even a cup.
- Between 1-2 hectares have been changed for my extra-curricular activities, such as dancing. My dance studio takes up quite a lot of land, and the parking lot as well.
I will change actions 1, 2, 4, 7, and 9. The reason why I chose to adjust my lifestyle in these areas is because these actions are manageable. Most of the other actions are not that easy to change within a short amount of time. Also, some things are not even under my control, for example the household appliances or the number of rooms that are in my house. I believe that daily small changes can greatly impact my ecological footprint.
- Taking shorter showers.
Instead of taking twenty-minute-long showers every other day, I will attempt to take ten-minute showers. In addition to that, I can go without conditioning my hair on most days. Instead, I can condition my hair every few times I take a shower, and this will subtract at least five minutes of my shower time.
- Buying less clothing.
This task shouldn’t be too difficult, considering most of the clothing I own comes from my older sister. I am sure I can save my money and not go shopping for clothes at all for a month.
- Not turning heater on.
This is really simple during this time of year, when it is more than ten degrees during the night. My goal is to have the heater in my house turned off for the majority of this year, including winter.
- Less technology time.
For the next month, I will only use technology for school purposes. I will cut out all of the time I spend watching TV, going on social media, and binge-watching videos and movies. Hopefully, I will only take up one hour a day on a device, instead of three hours.
- Less waste.
To reduce the amount of garbage I get rid of on a daily basis, my goal is to bring a water bottle to school everyday, eat homemade organic meals, and bring reusable bags when going shopping. By the end of this month, I aim to have all my garbage from a single day to fit inside a cup.
It was simple for me to make the first two changes, which were taking shorter showers and buying less to no new clothing. I found these easier to achieve because they didn’t significantly impact my life in the first place, and so adjusting them were a bit hard to start off but ended up being just an easy change. Keeping the heater off was definitely the easiest task to manage, because it is the summer right now and my family would not be using the heater anyways. I plan to challenge myself with this more in the winter. On the other hand, reducing my time on technology was considerably the most difficult change to make. It has become a habit of mine to spend some time on my phone or laptop daily, just relaxing and not working on anything in particular. Even though it was quite a challenge, I still managed to subtract and hour for every day, which is progress. Lastly, creating less waste was a reasonable adjustment, and I accomplished my goal within the first couple of weeks, which I am pretty proud of.
In the future, I will make sure these goals are still in place, and I will most likely set a new goal every month or so to make sure I keep reducing my ecological footprint. After making all these changes for the last month, I realised how small modifications with my lifestyle can affect so much. Not only does it help the environment in general, it also makes me feel like a healthier person. My goal for the end of 2018 is for my ecological footprint to be six hectares or less.