Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My ecological footprint

I am reading a book about living in an ecologically and ethically responsible way (the title escapes my foggy brain) and was inspired to check out my "ecological footprint". Apparently it takes 3.6 hectares of land to keep me in the style to which I am accustomed. Not bad compared to the average for someone living in the UK of 5.3 hectares, but not good considering that there are only 1.8 hectares of productive land per person when the earth is divided between its entire population. I suspect the plus points in my favour are that there are five of us living in one house, I rarely drive alone, and I also walk quite a bit. On the other hand we eat a fair amount of meat, and are not very energy efficient.

Being the curious person I am, I input exactly the same answers but pretended I lived in the USA, somewhere with the similar weather to New York. Converting the European hectares (hectares? what are hectares?) to imperial acres, here is a breakdown of the two results.

Average footprint 13.2 acres
My footprint
- food 3.7
- mobility 0.7
- housing 2.2
- goods / services 2.2
giving a total of 8.8 acres

Average footprint 24 acres
My footprint
- food 4.9
- mobility 0.7
- housing 6.7
- goods / services 6.7
giving a total of 19 acres

If everyone lived like the real, British me, we would need 2 planets; if everyone lived like the imaginary, American me, we would need 4.3.

Take the Earth Day Ecological Footprint quiz here.

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