Sunday, September 9, 2007

Measuring one's personal impact - Eco Footprint

The eco footprint concept is an interesting one. It is an index that measures how much an entity (e.g. country, city, person) consumes, and then assumes that if everyone in the world consumes at the same rate, N-number of planets would be needed to support life on earth. Obviously... we only have one planet... so the implication is pretty clear!

Personal Footprint Quiz -- I scored 22* (typical American: 24) -- this level requires 5 planets.
* 22 acre (hectare) of biologically productive space with world-average productivity [FAQ]
It brought me to a "Take Action" page that breaks down what actions can be taken and re-calculates my footprint. E.g. if I...

  • Shorten my shower by 10 minutes, reduce my clothes dryer load by 30%, convert 25 CFL lightbulbs, reduce my thermostat by 4 F (I ilke it extra warm at 72F), use central heating 5 instead of 6 months per year (ok, I like it REALLY warm... I came from the tropics), my score goes down by 1 (acre).
  • Reducing my driving by 20 miles/week saves 0.3 (acre)

That's not bad... these are the habits I can change fairly easily, within the next 2 months. I picked only lowest hanging fruits from all the items in the list. We can all do that... pick the easiest change that makes a difference.


rachael said...

Great quiz!
Mine is 12 footprint/2.6 planet.
Better than average, but it's still more than I thought though.

Thanks for sharing the quiz. :)

Axlq said...

Interesting quiz, although they don't explain anywhere (not even in the FAQ) how they score it.

Some things are out of my control, such as how often I must fly for my job, or my accessibility to *affordable* public transportation, so there's a lower limit to my score, unless I become homeless.

I find it interesting that I can shave 3 acres off my score simply by eating less meat. That's not surprising, considering it takes 7 pounds of grain to grow 1 pound of beef. That's land for 7 pounds of grain PLUS grazing land for the beef - and much of that grazing land used to be greenhouse-reducing rainforest in South America.