How Big Is YOUR Footprint?
According to a report just issued by the Global Footprint Network, humans are now consuming more resources than the Earth can possibly handle.
The report states that it would now take one and a half Earths to generate all the resources we’re consuming, as well as absorb all of our CO2 emissions.
And who is using the most resources?
Probably not too hard to guess. It’s the United States. According to Global Footprint, our country uses the resources of 5 planets. You can see the breakdown in this graphic, courtesy of Global Footprint:
Image courtesy of Global Footprint
How We Can Lower Our Carbon Footprint…
Yeah, it’s sobering to see just how much the United States consumes compared to, say, India. But there are things we can do to lower our own carbon footprint.
- Buy Used- Every time you buy something new, be it a sweater or a coffee maker or a car, you’re consuming resources like oil, metal, cotton, glass, etc. Buying used means you’re giving life to an item that might have been destined for a landfill. And, it means you’re not consuming the materials needed to make that brand new product.
- Live Small- Take a look at your home. The average size of the American home has skyrocketed over the past few decades, from 1,400 square feet in 1970 to over 2,300 square feet in 2006. Do you really need such a big house? Small homes use much less energy, and require less “stuff” to fill them. Think about downsizing.
- Make Your Home Energy Efficient- Many people get their electricity from coal-fired power plants. These plants put a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. Want to lower your carbon footprint? Then use less energy to heat your home. Add insulation, seal windows and doors, and lower your thermostat. These little things can make a big difference.
- Calculate Your Footprint- Want to know exactly how much your actions are impacting the Earth? Then calculate your carbon footprint with this calculator. The carbon calculator takes into account everything from the size of your home, how much you fly, to what kind of car you drive. And, you’ll get suggestions on how to lower your score once you’re done.
It can be easy to feel discouraged when stats like this get published. But, we have the opportunity to turn these numbers around! Doing small things like buying less (or buying used) to large things, like choosing a smaller home, really do make a difference.