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Ecological footprint - Essay Example

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Decreasing my Ecological Print: An ongoing struggle Every human being on earth needs to consume resources in order to survive. These resources will include basic necessities like food and water and other natural resources like fuel for power generation…
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Ecological footprint
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Ecological footprint

The ecological footprint can be a measure of the exact impact every individual, area, region, city or country has on the world’s renewable recourses and how fast we are using them up. As these resources are required by not only us but our future generations as well, measuring their depletion and ensuring their regeneration is a job that falls on every individual. The first step in moving towards being an ecologically responsible individual and doing your part in building a sustainable world is to find out your own ecological footprint. It is estimated that there is 4.5 acres of land worth of resources available for every single person on this earth, but this distribution is not exactly equal. In United States alone the average Footprint is 24 acres per person. As a student it may seem that you are not directly contributing too much to this estimate- after all, very few students can afford personal cars; frequent airplane trips, their own house; indulge in exotic, imported foods or buy unnecessary personal items. But when you measure your footprint it can be eye-opening. There are several websites with simple calculators which an individual can use to measure their ecological footprint, for a student like me who lives in a shared apartment complex, travels by car sometimes, occasionally recycles and eats mostly convenience food consisting of both meat and vegetables the Footprint comes to an average of 11.8 acres! It is lower than the national average but still a cause of concern. When deciding on how to approach the problem of my high footprint, the first thing which came to my mind was that exactly which of my activities were causing the most increase in my Footprint and which of these were directly in my control. For example, while reading the books and online sources one of the things which kept coming up was the heating costs for home and whether the power used was through renewable or non renewable resources. As I live in student housing and none of that is under my direct control right now. Instead I decided to concentrate on my daily life and how it was possible to make small changes which would lead to improvement in my ecological footprint. I realized my eating habits had to be changed. It is much better to buy local, organic produce which uses minimum of packaging. Just as important is to make sure the food isn’t wasted; leftovers which are thrown away or food that is spoiled all add to an increased use of land resources. While changing my food habits will require time and motivation, it was easy enough to plan ahead for my menus and monitor the recipes to make sure I got exactly the amount of food I required and use it within the expiry period, extra food was always packed away carefully and reused. I could see the results as my daily garbage disposal decreased in volume, clearly indicating a decrease in food wastage. In the future I hope that I would be able to grow a portion of my own vegetables and switch to completely organic food (transportation of food creates a lot of pollution via CO2 emissions, something which is not a problem with organically grown food) as adopting all these practices can reduce an individual Ecological Footprint by as much as 11%. The next area I looked into was energy conservation. I am glad to say that I was aware of the importance of this issue even before I studied about Ecological Footprint but now I had a better idea of what more could be done. I started to monitor more ... Read More
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