LITTLE STEPS: Get Real About Your Ecological Footprint

Welcome to the first post in my new series Little Steps, where I’ll be examining some of the little steps we can all take to make a big difference to the Earth. Are you overwhelmed and feel that nothing you do can make a difference?  Or do you kneel at the temple of crunchiness daily and think your footstep is non-existent? There are simple things we can all do, every day, to reduce our environmental impact and improve our commitment to sustainability. But before we start examining solutions, the best thing to do is work out your baseline. What is your Ecological Footprint right now?
The Centre for Sustainable Economy’s website will take you through a simple multiple choice questionnaire to give you a basic overview of what size rack your actions, lifestyle, and home have thrown your ecological shoes onto. If we don’t get real about where we’re starting from, how can we expect to make changes? As you go through the questionnaire you’ll also see hints on how to improve in each area, and as you answer the questions you may realize that there are factors you’ve never even considered.

You can see my results here, but in a nutshell: if everyone on the planet lived my lifestyle, we would need 2.93 Earths. Now I consider myself to be a very committed, eco-aware girl. Many of my friends and family probably wish I was less aware. But there you have it, I’m still living way beyond the planet’s capabilities. Although, if you do check out my results, you’ll see I’m way below the Australian national average in the footprints for Food and Goods and Services, and I managed to come in below for the Housing footprint as well. But I walked all over the rest of Australia with my Carbon footprint, and it’s not hard to understand why: my life of touring, and a year of living in a remote location yet constantly driving to other cities, means that I have been a gas guzzling giant. But now that my lifestyle has changed dramatically and my feet are planted firmly in one spot, I’m hoping I can decrease that footprint as well. One area I am feeling a little powerless about is my Housing footprint. Although I came in under the national average, it is still well beyond a sustainable level for the planet. I rent, so it’s hard for me to make changes to my home, or even have much choice in which homes to live in in the future. Insulation, building materials, power sources, fixed appliances, land size, and landscaping are all out of my control. I already conserve power and water as much as possible, so I was left a little bewildered about what I could do. However,  I’m choosing to see it as a challenge: to discover further ways I can decrease my Housing footprint to a sustainable level while renting. I’m guessing there’s a few readers in this predicament as well, so let’s explore solutions together.

little steps can make a big difference

little steps can make a big difference

Australia, as a whole, has an ecological footprint 2.8 times the average global footprint, coming in at 7.8 global hectares per person (according to the 2008 Living Planet Report). We are currently the seventh worst polluting nation in the world, with only Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Denmark, Belgium and the USA out-polluting us. Gotta say, this makes me feel ashamed, and inspires me to crank up my crunchy efforts. Hope it inspires you too. If you want to know where your country rates, or check out more details from the report, click here. Across the globe we are using 50% more resources than the Earth can sustain. Doesn’t take a genius to realize that we can’t keep doing that. Something’s gotta give. And that ‘thing ‘my friends, is all of us.

So, how did you score? How did your country score? Did you take any simple hints away from the quiz? What area of your life are you feeling most inspired and empowered to change, in order to reduce your Ecological Footprint?

Unless otherwise acknowledged, all images by me. All material copyright Raw Once More 2013

About Raw Once More

Recovering workaholic chronically ill perfectionist starting all over again (again!). After a crazy life (including running away with the circus), I'm learning to stay still and journeying towards health, happiness, and wholeness, by nourishing myself and the Earth. Interested in frugality, simplicity, creativity, sustainability, myo/diy, and living healthily with autoimmune disease.

Posted on April 24, 2013, in Eco-Friendliness and Sustainability, Little Steps and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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