After completing the class worksheet, my ecological footprint was calculated as 5.5 hectares. From comparing it to some of my classmates’ scores (5.6, 8.0, 7.3, 2.5, 9.2) I can see that it is near the lower end of average in the TALONS class.
The following is a list of 10 things I do which negatively impact my ecological footprint. The 6 bolded items on the list are actions I will try changing to positively change my ecological footprint
- As I play soccer, my team uses a large field multiple times a week
- My parents drive me to and from soccer themselves, we rarely carpool with my teammates
- My parents drive my sister and me to school and back every day
- My clothing choices (such as wearing matching socks)
- I have outgrown my sister and mom and can’t wear their hand-me-downs
- My family tends to eat meat often
- It is easy for families with kids to buy overly packaged food
- I have a smaller family but a bigger house than necessary
- I take a shower every morning
- I frequently forget to turn lights off
Why do I want to change these aspects of my life? How will I?
“My parents drive me to and from soccer themselves, we rarely carpool with my teammates”
I chose this item from the list because it is an easy way to adjust my life to help the ecosystem, even if it only helps a little. It will also be fun for me to carpool with my teammates more often and hopefully build stronger connections
To change this part of my life, I will organize to drive with at least one other teammate to a minimum of 1 practice or game a week.
“My parents drive my sister and me to school and back every day”
If I change this aspect of my life, it will help reduce the pollution my family creates by driving, it will let me become more comfortable with public transit, it will build friendships with classmates through carpooling, and get me outside and active more often
To adjust this habit, I will start using my compass card more often, or even walking home when it is nice out. Another way I can change is by taking advantage of having people from TALONS live close to me and carpool with them. I will encourage my sister to do the same.
“My clothing choices (such as wearing matching socks)”
This is a really easy, unnoticeable thing to fix in my life and although it doesn’t seem like an important part of my life, by changing it, it can actually help reduce my ecological footprint
I will change this everyday thing by not worrying about my socks matching and by wearing clothes more than once before washing them.
“My family tends to eat meat often”
If I can encourage my family to eat less meat, it will help by not promoting businesses that damage the earth and it will improve our health as a family.
I will change my families diet by exploring simple, plant-based meals which have ingredients available to us and don’t take up much time so we can fit it into our busy lives
“It is easy for families with kids to buy overly packaged food”
I want to change this part of my life because packaged food is a huge part of Earth’s pollution. By cutting back on the packaged food my family buys and pushing for options that have fewer wrappers and possibly even healthier, it will mean we create less waste for everyone to deal with.
I will cut back on my family’s wrapper waste by opting for food items with less packaging and talking to my family about different options and why we should take our waste into consideration. This could also introduce more fruits, vegetables, and local produce into my household.
“I take a shower every morning”
I take a shower every morning because it wakes me up and gets me ready for school, but it isn’t needed every day on weekends and by cutting back on how many and how long my showers are, I can save water.
To take fewer and shorter showers, I will make a shower routine so I don’t spend more time than needed with the water on. I will also cut back on how many days I shower, starting with one and going from there.
During the past weeks, there have been some changes that were incredibly easy to make, and some which were more difficult. The easiest changes I made were the changes in what I wear. It actually has made my life easier. I don’t worry as much about finding matching socks or what to wear because my choices include things what I wore the day before. It was also easy for me to adjust my transportation options. While the clothing adjustment made my life easier, the transportation adjustments made my parents’ lives easier. They didn’t have to worry as much about fitting my schedule into their schedule and it set them free of organizing their lives around my sister and me. However, a challenging change we made as a family was our diet. A plant-based diet was new for everyone in my family and in the beginning it took more effort to think of our meals. It was also difficult to buy food with less packaging because packaged food is more convenient and usually cheaper.
One obstacle I faced was figuring out bus routes and how I could get home. It was difficult for me to understand where specific busses went and what times they arrived at specific bus stops. By asking friends who have used public transportation longer than I have, I was able to figure out how they work and how to get home. Another obstacle I faced was getting used to not showering every day. Showering was what woke me up and started my day and not having that was something that I had to get used to. Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to overcome the sluggish feeling and now I have adjusted to fewer showers.
The Next Steps
I will definitely be continuing to follow these changes in my life and hope to find more ways to positively impact my ecological footprint. One thing from this list that I will take further is my means of transportation. I am going to organize more carpools with teammates for soccer and even begin to walk or take the bus to games and practice when I can. I am also planning on using sky trains and buses to go to new places. I have focused on getting comfortable with the idea by sticking with the same locations, however, now that I am more comfortable, I can use it to go places with my friends. I also know that my family is enjoying our plant-based diet and we will definitely continue to follow it and eat less meat. The last step which is regarding farther into my future is considering my living space when I am older. I have realized that an easy way to reduce my ecological footprint as I grow up is by having roommates when I move out. Living in a multi-room apartment with friends is a fun and easy way of creating more space for other people. By doing all of these little things every day, I am helping to ensure the future in which I am planning for. If everyone makes these little changes, it would improve the situation we are in. Even if there are big companies causing problems, our little actions do help and it is important that we take these steps towards creating a better environment.