Ecological Footprint Reduction Project: Introduction

Given topic:
Ecological Footprint Reduction Project: IntroductionThe ecological footprint is a tool for helping us to visualize the impacts we make on the environment. For a brief overview of the concept, please watch this one-minute video How Much Nature do we have? How much do we use? (Links to an external site.) prior to beginning work on this discussion.In this week’s class discussion, you will have the opportunity to learn more about how connected you are to the ecosystems and biosphere that you inhabit. Everyday choices can impact our environment; through those choices, we can either add to our environmental impact, or reduce it.In a five-week-long project beginning this week, you will take on the challenge of lessening your impacts on the environment, through reducing the size of your ecological footprint. Specifically, you will identify possible lifestyle changes that would reduce the amount of resources you use and/or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that you produce. Through completing this activity, you will determine whether or not it is possible to make a measurable difference in your environmental impact through a few simple actions in your daily life. The first step, of course, is to determine your ecological footprint right now. To do that, you will calculate three footprints: an overall ecological footprint that takes most of our daily behaviors into consideration; a carbon footprint that focuses on our daily carbon emissions that are contributing to global climate change; and a water footprint that assesses daily water use.Part A: Ecological FootprintUse the footprint tool from the web page What Is Your Ecological Footprint? (Links to an external site.) to calculate your ecological footprint. At every opportunity, please select the “add details to improve accuracy” option. At the end of the footprint activity, make a note of how many earths would be required if everyone lived like you. Then click on “see details” to obtain the following information:Your ecological footprint, in global hectares (a hectare is about two and a half acres).Your top three consumption categories.Finally, research some ways you might reduce your footprint, identifying a few specific ones that you might put into practice throughout the course.Part B: Household Carbon Emissions FootprintNext, use the Carbon Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.) to calculate your household carbon emissions footprint. After answering all the questions:Make a note of your carbon emissions footprint in pounds. Is that above or below the average household carbon footprint in the US?Also, explore specific actions you might take to reduce your footprint. Which of them might be practical to undertake in the next five weeks?Part C: Water FootprintFinally, use Water Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.) to calculate your daily water footprint. After answering all the questions:Make a note of your gallons per day water footprint.Record the top three contributors to it.Scroll down the page to access a series of “Tips” buttons you can click on for advice on reducing your footprint. Again, make a note of some specific ideas you see that might be practical to implement over the next five weeks.To start off your Discussion Post, please fill out this footprint results table (Links to an external site.) where you can provide all the information you gathered about your consumption habits from the three footprint calculations, including all numerical measurements with units.Then, examine the results of your three footprint calculations by answering the following questions:What did you learn that surprised you about your consumption habits?Propose a minimum of five lifestyle changes you could make that would reduce one or more of the three footprints. (These do not have to be the ones you use in this five-week project; over the course of the discussion, you may opt to select other ones based upon classmates’ recommendations. You will be recording your final choices for lifestyle changes in your Journal at the end of the week.)For each lifestyle change, identify which footprint(s) you would be lowering by doing it. Discuss potential obstacles to making those changes, and then suggest ways you might overcome those obstacles.Your initial posting should be 250-500 words and must be submitted by Thursday, midnight, of this week.By Sunday of this week, respond to two or more of your classmates in one of postings in any of the following ways:Build on something your classmate saidExplain why and how you see things differentlyAsk a probing or clarifying questionShare an insight from having read your classmate’s postingOffer and support an opinionExpand on your classmate’s posting
post# 1
Hello Everyone,What an eye opener this first discussion was. When answering some of the questions, after our readings this week, I felt a little guilty for not recycling as much as I should. For someone that is vegan, I thought I was doing more good than I actually am, there is so much more that plays into the impact we have on the environment than dietary choices. Starting with the Ecological footprint, it would take 3.2 Earths, if everyone lived like I do, that is 2.2, too many. There are some factors I do not have total control over since I live in an apartment and cannot make changes to the structure or fixtures however, I could implement using public transportation to get where I need to go. Fertile soil, clean water, and clean air are necessary to provide humanity with the food and physical health we require to thrive. Vibrant natural ecosystems such as oceans and forests are indispensable to keep our planet livable, for example, by regulating the climate and absorbing carbon emissions. They also help keep humans psychologically and spiritually-grounded (Planet, n.d.). I do not have children yet however, choosing the size of my family could be another way to help the planet. I have been vegan for five years however, I do sometimes consume processed foods, the majority of my diet is found in the produce department however, I could support local farmers and reduce the number of packaged, processed snacks I purchase for the household. I freely change the thermostat to meet my needs during the different seasons, I could implement using windows in the summertime and use blankets in the winter instead of adjusting the thermostat every time I am either too hot or too cold. One area I know I need to improve is recycling, I used to be more diligent and there is no excuse since I have a large trash bin for recycling. My hectares results were 5.2, my top three consumptions were mobility, shelter and goods. My carbon emissions were 26,736 and I use 1,254 gallons of water per day. I believe there is ample room for improvement. I do believe though this class I will become more aware of my lifestyle and I am excited to break habits to do my part in saving the planet.
Reference:Planet. (n.d.). Earth Overshoot Day.
post# 2
Ecological Footprint:My Ecological footprint is 8.2. that is 5.1 Earths that would be needed if everyone lived like me. My top consumption categories are mobility, goods and shelter. My mobility is 2.7 gha. I do live in a small town, but I do have to drive to and from work everyday. I also go to the gym every morning. I would probably be able to lower that by car pooling since this is a small town, that would be easy to do, or possibly riding a bike to either work or the gym. Shelter is 2.1 gha, Right now the space we live in is right amount for the amount of people that live in the house. When my children do move our downsizing homes would be a good idea, as myself and my husband would not need such a big space. my goods is 1.4 gha. I think buying more local meats and dairy products will help this. Lowering the ecological footprint can stop using plastics, instead of straws use metal straws using reusable bags when shopping more rather than throw them away. possibly drive less in nice weather. One way is to use LED light bulbs which I do already use in my home. Buying more local, there is an estimate that 70% of Asia’s rivers and lakes are contaminated by the 2.5 billion gallons of wastewater produced by that continent’s textile industry (NA, 2019)Carbon Emissions:My current total in emissions is home energy is 40,795, transportation 33,259, and waste is 2,766, the total is 79,324. After planned actions the total would be 44,404. Right now it is above US average, after the planned actions it would be below. One of the ones to lower is recycling more and try to reduce the number of miles that the vehicles are driven.Water Footprint:My water usage per day is 1,337 gallons per day. the top 3 contributors are shower laundry and kitchen sink. I would say maybe getting better efficient faucets for the bathrooms and showers including the kitchen sink. Making sure our dishwasher is full before running it. Looking into renewable power, and recycle more.LauraReferences:NA, (2019) 11 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint11 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint – Get Green Now (‌

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