Calculation of my footprint:
My ecological footprint, based on the footprint calculator worksheet we were given in class, is 6.9 hectares.
Comparison of my footprint to those of others:
My footprint is relatively in the average to low percentage compared to those of others; our class average alone was around 8 hectares.
10 actions that currently increase the size of my footprint:
Ten actions that currently increase the size of my footprint are: leaving unnecessary lights on (e.g. using my bedroom light when I could use natural lighting from outside), charging my phone excessively, making coffee with a machine, using a blow-dryer, playing music through speakers excessively, riding in cars more than other forms of transportation, throwing out some of my leftover food, using “disposable items” (e.g. pens), taking longer showers than necessary, and flushing the toilet after every use.
5 actions I will try changing:
Five actions from the ten that I will try changing are: making coffee with a machine, using a blow-dryer, throwing out some of my leftover food, riding in cars more than other forms of transportation, leaving unnecessary lights on, and charging my phone excessively.
How I will try changing them:
To try and change these five actions, I will stop (or lessen) my coffee intake, and, if I choose to drink coffee, I will brew it without a machine. Secondly, I will stop using a blow-dryer altogether, which may change my showering schedule to leave time for my hair to air-dry. I will be more ethical with my leftover food by either finishing all of it or making/ordering less food to begin with to decrease the amount thrown out. Furthermore, I will make an effort to use more efficient forms of transportation, such as walking to nearby places or taking public transportation. I will also be more conscious of when I use unnecessary lights and try to use natural lighting as much as I can. Lastly, I will use my phone less in order to conserve the battery life, which will reduce the amount of time I spend charging it.
Some of the changes that were easy for me to make were drinking/making less coffee, avoiding blow-drying my hair, and not leaving unnecessary lights on. Making and drinking less coffee was an easy change for me because coffee isn’t an integral part of my life and I didn’t find I needed it to function; I just enjoyed the taste. Avoiding blow-drying my hair was also an easy change, since I just made an effort to take showers a tad earlier to leave time for my hair to air-dry, and I found that not using a blow-dryer also freed up some time in the evening for me to work on other things. Not leaving unnecessary lights on was an easy change as well, since it was relatively easy for me to become aware of the amount of times I use unnecessary light, as well as the fact that the sun is out now and there’s more natural light than before.
Some of the changes that were difficult for me to make were not throwing out my leftover food, taking more efficient forms of transportation, and reducing the amount of times I charge my phone. Not throwing out my leftover food was a bit challenging for me because I always found there were times I miscalculated how much food I’d wanted, as well as times I didn’t have time to finish my food or containers to store my leftover food in (e.g. when I was busy at lunchtimes at school). Taking more efficient forms of transportation was also a challenge for me because I found it difficult to try and change my regular school schedule (my parents drive both my sister and I to different schools), but I did make an effort to walk to different places, such as stores I needed to buy things from. Reducing the amount of times I charge my phone was challenging because I, unfortunately, found it hard to spend less time on it; besides being on social media a lot, I also use my phone for actual communication as well as working on homework and doing research.
Obstacles I encountered:
Some of the obstacles I encountered were mentioned in the specific descriptions above, but I also encountered obstacles such as forgetting about working towards having a more ecological footprint, and it was more difficult to stick to what I’d planned if I were out or in a different situation than usual (such as eating at a restaurant or going out with friends).
Steps I’ll take in the future:
The steps I plan to take in the future include staying vegan, spending less time on my phone and other electronic devices, takin public transportation or walking/biking more often, and ethically disposing and/or discontinue the use of items that contribute a lot to my footprint.