Ecological Footprint Project

THe plan

My total ecological footprint was 8.60. My highest section was transportation, coming in at 270. This is because my family owns two cars and we spend a lot of time driving and frequently don’t carpool. My second highest category was food, at 190, then fun, at 140. My lowest section was shelter, with 20 points.

I believe that my footprint was in the middle, potentially a little lower than the rest of the class. I know that Albert and Leah got around 7 hectares, and some people got as high as 14 hectares. Canada has an average of 7.8, so I come in just above the per capita footprint.

Ten actions that I can feasibly take to reduce my ecological footprint are:

  1. Shorten my shower time to 1-2 minutes as opposed to 3-6 minutes (-20)
  2. Reduce the garbage I create from one shoebox to one cup. (-40)
  3. Change the lightbulbs in my house from incandescent to LED’s  (-10 or -20)
  4. Bike to school and field hockey (-15)
  5. Avoid spending time on screens (-30)
  6. Get a water-saving device for my toilet (-5)
  7. Go vegetarian:
    1. Stop eating beef (-20)
    2. Stop eating pork (-10)
    3. Stop eating chicken (-30)
    4. Stop eating fish (-40)

 

The five options that I chose to implement into my life were:

  1. Stop eating beef (-20)
  2. Stop eating pork (-10)
  3. Stop eating chicken (-30)
  4. Stop eating fish (-40)
  5. Reduce the garbage I create from one shoebox to one cup. (-40)

I chose these items because for two reasons. I chose to go vegetarian because I have always been curious about the experience, and I often felt guilty about how much carbon I was producing in taking part in the consumption of meat (the average meat lover produces 3.3 tonnes of carbon compared to 1.7 tonnes produced by the average vegetarian). I also chose to reduce the amount of garbage that I created because it was a small step that would make a big difference.

I will implement these steps through a variety of methods. In order to go vegetarian, I will create my own meal plan and separate shopping list, and cook my own meals. I will be using Anne Lindsay’s selection of cookbooks to create a variety of meals that are iron-rich and have complete proteins. For my first meal I am planning on making mushroom-lentil burgers.

For reducing the amount of garbage I produce, I will be making better decisions on how I dispose of my waste, like composting fruit scraps as opposed to throwing them in the garbage. I shall also eat less processed, prepackaged foods such as granola and snack bars. Finally, I shall take home my used yogurt and apple sauce pots and rinse them out before washing them.

The reflection

One change that was easier for me to make was creating less garbage. This change was relatively simple, and it mostly involved me being conscious  with the snacks that I brought to school and the stuff that I bought. I was able to reduce my amount of waste from to pretty quickly, and that is a change that I have implemented permanently.

A change that was harder for me to make was going vegetarian. I found that I didn’t have as much time to make myself a separate meal, so I sometimes turned to canned soup and chili on particularly busy nights. However, this change was beneficial to me as I gained experience with cooking my own meals and meal planning. I also learned more about iron and different amino acids, and complete proteins.

An obstacle that I faced was a lack of time to prepare my own meals. I found that on busy weeknights, mostly Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would barely have enough time to finish all my homework, as I had kayaking practice from 4-5:30, then hockey from 6:30-8:30 or 9:30, depending on the day. I found that the best way to make the best use of the little time I had was to make a big batch of soup or casserole on Sunday night, and reheat it during the week.

Another obstacle that I encountered was some resistance from my parents. My parents were concerned over the amount of iron that I would be getting, as well as a little irritated by my eating of separate meals. Also, my dad is concerned about how processed tofu is. I was able to work with my parents to plan meals that had plenty of iron and that didn’t have tofu. I also was able to minimize the inconvenience of my making of separate meals, as I only used the kitchen on Sunday afternoons.

Some steps I plan to take in the future are to reduce my use of garbage, continue to choose vegetarian options for meals, and choose meats that have less of an impact on the environment, such as wild salmon.

 

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