4 FAQs about Environmental Footprint
After a series of evolution by natural selection, we are now a species with 7 billion population. Forty years from now, another 2 billion people will be added to that statistic. As we rapidly increase in number, we also use up more natural resources day by day. Since we all love to live in comfort, oftentimes too much comfort, we may end up leaving a huge environmental footprint that’s beyond what the Earth can handle.
To further understand environmental footprint, here are the 4 frequently asked questions about it that you have to know:
- What Is Ecological Footprint?
The term “Environmental Footprint”, also known as “Ecological Footprint”, refers to the long-term negative impacts of human activities to the natural environment. In other words, these are the things we do that deplete our natural resources like overconsumption, pollution, or simply being greedy without thinking about the survival of next generation. It’s just like too much demand for very limited resources.
2. What are the Types of Environmental Footprint?
To be more specific, environmental footprint can be further classified into four basic categories:
- Carbon Footprint. This category considers the amount of excessive greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. It takes into account the severity of Global Warming, and eventually Climate Change. Examples of this category are vehicular emissions and other forms of incineration process.
- Water Footprint. This type of footprint measures the impact of human activities to remaining available freshwater resources. It includes several factors like the water’s volume, quantity, and of course, quality. Examples of this category are wasted freshwater resources or direct contamination through the introduction of pollutants in reservoirs.
- Resources Footprint. It monitors the effect of human activities on the reserves of available raw materials that are mostly non-renewable resources. Popular examples of this are fossil fuels, minerals, wood and agricultural land. It may include too much dependence on industrialization and electricity, or simply using commercial products that you don’t really need.
- Ecosystem Footprint. This type of footprint takes into account the declining capacity of our ecosystems and biodiversity to meet our needs. It usually evaluates the amount of pollution released into the environment. One of the prominent examples for this is the rapid conversion of forests to residential, commercial, or industrial lands.
3. How can we Calculate our Environmental Footprint?
In calculating your environmental footprint, there are a lot of websites that can offer a helping hand. You should definitely try using the following:
- Footprint Calculator. It asks you questions answerable by three ranges – never, occasionally, and very often, which you can be very specific about. The questions are about your food consumption, housing details including electrical utilization, and transportation practices. After answering all the questions, it gives you an estimated date for your Overshoot Day, or the exact day of the year where you used up too many resources that are not renewable within that year. It also tells you how many Earths are needed if all people live like you.
- Carbon Footprint Calculator. As the name suggests, it calculates your carbon footprint. Questions here include information about your house, flights, car, motorbike (if any), and bus and train. It also asks about secondary carbon sources through specifying the amount (in US dollars) you spend for food, drinks, clothes, education, appliances, devices, etc.
- Water Footprint Calculator. This one is also very easy to use. The survey includes information about the extent of time you use for baths, faucets, toilets, dishes, laundries, and many more.
4. What can we do to Reduce our Environmental Footprint?
Well, if we continue to exhaust Earth’s resources and consume more than what it can provide, we can now kiss goodbye to “sustainability”. Before it’s too late, let’s ponder on these 3 simple tips:
- By being aware of your environmental footprint, it’s a great start for changing your lifestyle for the better. Using the online calculators that we suggested, or any similar calculators of your own preference, you can now quantify on how much adjustment you should do to reduce your own negative impact on Earth.
- You don’t really need a scholar’s level of intelligence to comprehend the severe effects of our present actions to the future. In fact, you only need an open mind, plus your common sense. This means that you should stop ignoring the warnings, and start caring for the environment, like for real. Remember, one of the best battle strategies is knowing your enemy. If we can fully understand the concept that Earth is in grave danger, we can develop methods and practices to stop it from happening.
- Words alone are not enough to solve the problem. We need actions! There’s no such thing as “sweet words” to combat global degradation. What’s important is that we should actualize what we say and show the world that “it’s not yet too late”. You know the drills on what to do – discipline, conservation, and proper waste management.
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