Friday, April 22, 2005

Your Ecological Footprint

Have you considered what impact your daily decisions have on the health of the world's environment? What difference would it make if you didn't use a car, or if you used less water or owned fewer clothes ?
Ecological Footprint model helps estimate how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard.
Is our lifestyle sustainable?
With the environment slowly deteriorating because of the simple decisions that you and I make, it is necessary to look at our consumption of resources. The more resources we consume, the more pressure it puts on the planet to supply those resources.
Ecological Footprinting is a way of determining relative consumption. Ecological Footprints have been used to argue that current lifestyles are not sustainable. If everyone consumed as many resources as the average person in the North America, we would need five earths to meet the demand. In contrast, India (which has 5 times more population than America) has an ecological footprint ten times smaller than the U.S., partly due to the poverty that many people live in. This highlights the incredible disparity in worldwide resource use. It means that if every person on this earth demands more cars, clothes and condominiums, without careful environmental planning, there is a significant risk that the ecosystems of earth will become permanently damaged, and may not support this growth.
The use of ecological footprinting to analyse the resource use of individuals or nations can guide further development to make it more sustainable.
Long-term Planning needed
It shows that inorder to help poorer nations develop, rich countries must reduce their impact on the earth's resources, otherwise there simply might not be enough for everybody. These developed countries should significantly reduce their consumption, and developing nations should work towards development with less impact on the earth's resources.
For example, using recycled products, using energy from renewable resources (hydroelectric projects, solar power etc) and rainwater harvesting can help achieve this goal. Further research into ecological footprinting can teach you many ways to reduce your impact on the environment, and many ways that the entire country could improve its environmental planning.
You can know more about ecological footprint in the sites given below :
Ecological Footprint Quiz - Test your knowledge on how your country fares in this sensitive subject by taking this online quiz.
Ecological footprints of nations - How much nature do they use? How much nature do they have?
Redefining Progress - Read a good ecological footprinting analysis here.
Ecological Footprint Calculators
Sustainablesonoma.org

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