Thanks to Jessica for pointing me to Earthday.net's Footprint Quiz.
According to the site, there are 4.5 biologically productive acres for each person on the planet and they offer a quiz to find out what your particular footprint is. I found from the quiz that I am using 7 acres. A large part of that is in the transportation area, which I wrote about earlier. I know that I need to do something about this aspect of our lives....I'm just stuck on what to do at the moment.
So, if everyone lived like me, we would need 1. 5 planets. I suppose my 7 acres is better than the average in the U.S. of 24 acres per person(!!!!), but it is something that I still need improve so I can get down to at least my share of 4.5 acres.
Some of Earth Day's suggestions on how to improve your footprint:
- Eat less meat: A plant-based diet generally requires less land, energy, and other resources. Crop-based food requires an average of 0.78 global hectares per ton of food, compared to 2.1 global hectares required to produce one ton of animal-based food. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on this topic (and others!).
- Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle and reduce the amount that you drive-walk, cycle, carpool, or use public transportation instead.
- Avoid purchasing disposable items with lots of packaging. Re-use items when possible, and always recycle items that are recyclable.
- Compost kitchen waste: Garbage that is not contaminated with degradable (biological) waste can be more easily recycled and sorted, and doesn't produce methane gases (a significant greenhouse gas contributor) when stored in a landfill.
- Plant native and drought-tolerant plants in dry regions to reduce water use.
- Be a conscientious consumer—learn about sustainability-friendly products here, courtesy of The Center for a New American Dream. Also, for a teenage perspective on “buying different,” click here.
- Visit the GreenMarketplace, an online green shopping center, for all sorts of environmentally friendly products.
- Share magazines and catalogs by donating them to hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices or by creating an informal program in which you rotate magazines and catalogs among your neighbors.
- Save trees by freeing yourself from junk mail, in three basic steps! Also courtesy of The Center for a New American Dream.
- Reuse and recycle packing materials. You can recycle materials like packing “peanuts”—simply call 1-800-828-2214 for the Plastic Loose Fill Council’s “Peanut Hotline” and they’ll tell you the nearest recycling location.
- Start a conversation by asking your friends about their social and ecological concerns.
- Encourage your friends to visit www.myfootprint.org and make their own lifestyle changes using the Take Action Calculator as a guide.
- Recruit some friends to get involved with you in local and global movements for social change. To find an Earth Day event or Earth Day network group in your own area, click here. For a list of other interesting nonprofit organizations that welcome volunteers in your area, try www.care2.com. or www.idealist.org.