Are you ready to take the challenge? Commit to reducing your ecological footprint in one or more of the five categories below, for one week, two weeks, or longer. You will get 100 points for every category you commit to.
Then, earn more points by:
Don't forget to document your progress by sharing photos, videos, and words of encouragement through the Comment box!
The Food Footprint
The food system is responsible for approximately 1/3 of global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Food is an important part of our cultural and social lives, and an important way we can reduce our ecological footprints. Eating more locally grown, locally produced and organic food is a good first step – look to farmer's markets to find what's fresh in your area. Eating less meat is another great way to reduce your footprint, since meat and dairy production alone account for 18% of GHG emissions.
The Transportation Footprint
Fossil-fuel burning vehicles are a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas emissions. Driving a personal vehicle to get around will lead to a large ecological footprint, and there are many alternatives available. Ride a bike, use public transit, or walk to get where you need to go. When a car is necessary to reach your destination, carpool with others who are going the same way. And, when you are driving, turn off your car's engine when stopped to avoid idling.
The Waste Footprint
Landfills are a top source of Methane, a potent Greenhouse Gas. Reducing the amount of waste you produce can go a long way to reducing your ecological footprint. Buy products in bulk to reduce packaging waste, and bring a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. Writing on both sides of a sheet of paper and composting your organic waste are other useful tips. Before purchasing something new, think about whether you really need it – and if you do, buy it second-hand if possible.
The Energy Footprint
The electricity sector is a major source of the CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change. The benefit to consuming less energy is that it also saves you money in the form of lower utility bills. Turn electronic devices off when you're not using them (e.g. your computer, television, lights) and use energy-efficient light bulbs. Also, look to your laundry: wash clothes in cold water (80-90% of the energy used in washing laundry is used to heat the water) and hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
The Water Footprint
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that freshwater resources are vulnerable and could be strongly impacted by climate change. To reduce your footprint in this category, consider your drinking water. More water is used to manufacture a disposable plastic water bottle than that same bottle can hold. Instead, carry a reusable water bottle of filtered or tap water. Conserve water coming out of the tap by taking short showers, filling the sink when washing dishes instead of letting the water run, and turning off the tap when brushing your teeth. The average bathroom sink faucet flows at a rate of 7 litres a minute, so by simply turning off the tap while brushing, you could save 30 litres a day.
Free your Forks! One pound of meat requires 8 times as much as energy as plant protein. Go local, support a farmer and eat your veggies!