After calculating my ecological footprint, my final score is 12.4 hectares, and comparing to Kevin’s score of 7.05, Jerome’s score of 8.35 and Yoonha’s footprint of 7.35, my footprint seems to be way above the average. Because of that, I went back to check if my calculation was correct and as no mistakes were found. I was surprised to get such a high ecological footprint score and I went back and look at specific things that dramatically increased my footprint score and the top ten actions are as following:
- Flushing the toilet every single time
- Washing the car and cleaning the garden every 2nd week
- Buying brand new clothes every month
- Producing garbage that would fit in a shoebox every single day
- Owning a second home in China that I do not own together with another family
- Spend half an hour to an hour per day in a vehicle
- The car that I am in the most often is my mom’s SUV
- Lots of land has been changed for the activities that I do
- Spending more than an hour on the computer and Tv every single day
- Eating non-organic food many times a week (pork, beef and chickens)
After identifying these actions and situations, I figured that my other house back in China impacted my ecological footprint score the most as it added 4 hectares to my final score. Even so, I think there still are many things I can improve on and I will list some below.
- Buy less cloth for myself and my family. I still have a rather full closet even after a partial of my clothes were donated to value village. Plus, I hardly ever wear about half of the cloth I own, which proves that I have way too much of clothing. Normally, I would go shopping and purchase new clothes every month or so and that made me intend to wear the new ones rather than the old ones. I can improve this by go shopping when I absolutely needs clothes to wear and also learn to fix some of my clothes that are ripped or punctured. This can decrease my ecological footprint and my budget, which I can do more things with the money I saved. I chose this action because I realized how much clothing I don’t need, and I think reducing the frequency of shopping would also increase my budget.
- Spend less time on a vehicle every day. I chose this action because two of my most impactful things are about vehicles. The most useful thing here that can help me to improve my ecological footprint is walking or biking as neither of both produces exhaust and these two actions are also environmentally-friendly. Bus is, however essential to my life as I live uphill and it would take roughly twenty minutes for me to go from my house to Gleneagle by bus. This, however, does help me to save a lot of time so I don’t have to wake up too early for my transportation but sometimes, biking can also be a solution for my transportation in the morning to school. My solution to this will be riding a bike to school twice or as much as I can to school every morning to decrease my ecological footprint hectares. Plus, riding a bike early morning is also a very soothing feeling and downhill biking is also very fun as long as it is safe.
- Produce less garbage everyday by using less package and more environmental-friendly packages. My daily garbage can fit in a shoe box, but I think I can easily reduce my garbage, so it would fit in something small like a cup only. I can reduce the daily garbage I produce by buying less packaged item, or at least, more environmental-friendly packaged items. For example, I can store my shopping items in a reusable bag or a paper bag. A reusable bag will be convenient as I can keep using it for a long time and not having to worry about recycling it. A paper bag is environmental-friendly and I can recycle it when I am done using it. Also, one main things that is contained in my daily garbage is paper tissue, I think I am using way too much tissues every day and I can reduce it by using the tissue for more than one task. For example, I can use back side of the tissue to wipe my table after I used it to wipe my face. Garbage is produced subconsciously so it is important to be careful and always be aware to produce less garbage. I chose this action because it applies to me by a great amount and I know I can reduce my daily garbage in many ways.
4. Eat more organic food. Organic food are generally more healthy and they are grown naturally. Unlike the organic products, conventionally-raised food is given growth hormones for faster growth to make a better profit, therefore, less healthy. Why is organic food better? First, organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture which remain in the food we eat. Secondly, organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often produced on smaller farms near where it is sold. Lastly, organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Over all, organic food is more environmentally-friendly compared to the non-organic food. I chose this action because before I ever research about the difference between organic and non-organic food, I have no idea whether which one is healthier or not. And now, I finally become aware that eating organic food will reduce my ecological footprint. I will improve by trying to by more organic food than non-organic food and I will remind my family to also do so.
5. Spend less time one computers or electronic devices. My last thing that I want to improve on is the time I spend everyday on an electronic device. On a typical day, I would usually spend no less than three hours staring at a screen of some sort, and sometimes even when I am in bed. Electronic devices not only lowered my eyesight, but also increased my ecological footprint. Personally, I have three electronic devices and I am currently using one of them to type. Research found that extensive long-term use of computers may result in a variety of health issues affecting the entire body. Wrist and finger pain may occur in users who spend years typing with improper mechanics. Other users develop lower back, spine or neck pain from poor posture. Besides health issues, computer and online entertainment also takes up a big part of my day, and that’s one main reason why I chose this action. My solution is try to reduce the time I spent on electronic device everyday to less than an hour, and if longer, there should be breaks in between the time for me to stretch or exercise. I need to organize my own schedule and balance the time of electronic devices.
After a week of aiming for the best I can to reduce my ecological footprint, I had to say that there is some benefits and some challenges. Let’s start easy, first of all, I was able to dig up my closet and find those clothes that I haven’t wear for a while. I wore them to school and felt great because it felt like that I am finally wearing my clothes in a balanced fashion. There were no challenges in the first one and I was proud of what I have done to reduce my ecological footprint. Secondly, the biking to school plan. I was, however, able to ride a bike to school twice this week and I did indeed have some troubles at first to get used to it. To start off, it was tough to ride a bike with a heavy backpack because it was really tough to balance the bike. I improved this by leaving the books I don’t need at home, so I have a lighter backpack to work with. Then, I realized I need more sleep in order to focus and ride the bike downhill early in the morning as I was not used to the sudden motion in the morning as most of the time, I would be sitting in a bus. I improve this by going to bed early the last night, so I have more energy to ride a bike the next morning. Beside the obstacles I faced, things actually went really well, I was able to reach the school in twenty-five minutes or less by biking and I was also able to come back by putting my bike on the bus. It was a fun and unique experience for me because I’ve never thought about riding my bike to school. It also made me more energetic in the morning because of this activity. Then, there is my third task, which requires me to produce less garbage. It was indeed a success as I was able to fit my garbage everyday into a mug and one day, I managed to only throw away three paper tissues. It was impressive to see how much garbage I produced now comparing to the garbage I produced back then. I didn’t even have to change my garbage bin this week because it was only half full. The plan worked nicely as I was able to produce less garbage which reduced my ecological footprint. Now let’s talk about my penultimate plan, which is to eat organic food instead of non-organic food. My mom and I were able to purchase organic pork and organic beef. Honestly, it didn’t taste differently, but I was proud as I followed my plan to reduce my ecological footprint by eating organic meat. Lastly, which I had the most trouble with, the electronic time. It was very hard for me to reduce the screen time as my computer was so essential to my daily life. It was literally impossible for me to control my screen time when I had to finish an essay. After a bit of struggle, I managed to balance my time, finishing a partial of the work every day and writing on paper when my eyes got tired of the computer screen. I also had breaks in between my screen time for stretches and exercise. This helped my neck to feel better after sitting in front of the screen for hours everyday. Overall, my plans to reduce my ecological footprint were successful as I managed to approach each one with great effort. But beside that, I think the plans should be a continuous goal for me as in the future, I should always be aware of my ecological footprint. I should always remember to eat organic food, bike to school if possible, spend less time in front of a screen, produce less garbage and also purchase clothes only when I absolutely need to. If I continue to do these tasks, I believe I can reduce my ecological footprint by a great amount. Also, I am also planning to work on the other five things I should improve on as I mentioned before to decrease my ecological footprint even more.