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My Ecological Footprint – Quiz Results
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If everyone on the planet lived my lifestyle, we would need:

= 5.37 Earths
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Reduce your footprint

Reduce your footprint Table View Print
Thursday, 14-January, 2016

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Reduce your footprint
There are many simple ways to reduce the footprint you leave on the planet. Learn how to reduce
your footprint in each consumption category-carbon, food, housing, and goods and services-but
don’t stop there. Amplify your impact by encouraging others to follow your lead. Engage your
friends and community with local and global movements for social change, or start your own
movement!

Reduce your Carbon Footprint
Use cleaner transport

Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible.

Avoid allowing your car to idle. If you’ll be waiting for more than 30 seconds, turn off the
engine (except in traffic). And don’t take the drive-through-park the car and walk inside
instead.

Have your vehicle serviced regularly to keep the emission control systems operating at
peak efficiency. Check your car’s air filter monthly, and keep the tires adequately inflated
to maximize gas mileage.

Avoid short airplane trips-take a bus or train instead.

Add energy-saving features to your home

Install compact fluorescent bulbs in all your home light fixtures-but remember, compact
fluorescents contain mercury, so look for low-mercury models and be sure to dispose of
old bulbs safely through your local hazardous waste program.

Weatherproof your home. Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated, and consider
double-pane windows. Eliminate drafts with caulking, weather strips, and storm windows
and doors.

Insulate your water heater. Even better, switch to a tankless water heater, so your water
will be heated only as you use it.

Choose energy efficient appliances.

Adopt energy-saving habits

Keep thermostat relatively low in winter and ease up on the air conditioning in summer.
Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended to keep the A/C operating at
peak efficiency.

Unplug your electronics when not in use. To make it easier, use a power strip. Even when
turned off, items like your television, computer, and cellphone charger still sip power.

Dry your clothes outside whenever possible.

Make minimal use of power equipment when landscaping.

Defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly.

Choose green electricity. Many utilities give you the option to purchase electricity
generated by wind and solar power for a small rate surcharge.

Purchase carbon offsets to make up for the energy use you can’t eliminate.

Reduce your Food Footprint

Eat more local, organic, in-season foods.

Plant a garden-it doesn’t get more local than that.

Shop at your local farmer’s market or natural foods store. Look for local, in-season foods
that haven’t traveled long distances to reach you.

Choose foods with less packaging to reduce waste.

Eat lower on the food chain-going meatless for just one meal a week can make a
difference. Globally, it has been estimated that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are
associated with meat consumption.

Reduce your Housing Footprint
Choose sustainable building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products.

Explore green design features for your building, like passive solar heating, a rainwater
catchment or grey water recycling system, and recycled materials.

Choose efficient appliances, including low flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets.

Choose furnishings that are second-hand, recycled, or sustainably produced.

Plant drought tolerant plants in your garden and yard.

Use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products.

Adopt water-saving habits

Take shorter, less frequent showers-this not only saves water, but the energy necessary to
heat it.

Don’t use the garbage disposal. Compost instead.

Run the dishwasher and the laundry machine only when full.

Wash cars rarely, or better yet, take them to a carwash. Commercial carwashes use less
water per wash than home washers, and they are also required to drain used water into the
sewage system, rather than storm drains, which protects aquatic life.

Avoid hosing down or power-washing your deck, walkways, or driveway.

Regularly look for and fix leaks.

Reduce your Goods and Services Footprint

Buy less! Replace items only when you really need to.

Recycle all your paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Don’t forget electronics!

Compost food waste for the garden. Garbage that is not contaminated with degradable
(biological) waste can be more easily recycled and sorted, and doesn’t produce methane
gases (a significant greenhouse gas contributor) when stored in a landfill.

Buy recycled products, particularly those labeled "post-consumer waste."

Footprint

Country
Average

Carbon Footprint

45.94

91.43

Food Footprint

99.31

65.74

Housing Footprint

23.94

31.58

(in global acres)

Goods and Services Footprint

39.06

57.66

208.25

246.41

Footprint

Country
Average

Cropland footprint

25.29

29.61

Pastureland footprint

58.59

68.02

Marine fisheries footprint

42.15

49.33

Forestland footprint

82.21

99.45

My total footprint

208.25

246.41

Number of Earths

5.37

6.35

My total footprint

(in global acres)

Thursday, 14-January, 2016

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Assignment 1b: Your Ecological Footprint

In many of the assignments and discussions during this course, you will be challenged to consider your impact on the environment or your values related to the environment. You may find that your values change during this course based on your study of the environment. The Final Project provides a way to measure any change you may undergo during this course and to reflect on your role in the environment.

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz by clicking on the link in the Learning Resources. Print out your test results and consider the results of the quiz in the following ways:
    • Do you feel the results are accurate? Were you surprised by any of the results? What lifestyle choices impacted the size of your ecological footprint? How do you think you could personally reduce your footprint? What are some of the ways people are becoming more “green”?
    • Write your reactions and responses on your printed test results. You will use this information in Week 10 as you prepare your final Reflection paper.
  • As the course progresses, note any changes you are making in your everyday life or that you would like to make, and how these changes reflect on your values as an individual and on your values regarding your responsibility to society. If you are not making changes to your ecological footprint,be prepared to explain why you have made that choice.

The assignment:

Compose a 2-page essay in which you do the following:

  • Assess your ecological footprint, including your reactions and responses to your test results.
  • Determine what lifestyle choices impact the size of your ecological footprint and how you might reduce your ecological footprint.
  • Discuss how the size of your ecological footprint compares to that of an average American and to that of an individual living in a developing country.

Submit your Assignment by Day 7.In order to receive full credit, all assignments must be submitted on time. Should you encounter an unanticipated and uncontrollable life event that may prevent you from meeting an assignment deadline, contact the Instructor immediately to request an extension. Your Instructor’s contact information is in the Faculty Information area under Course Home. For a full description of the late policy, please refer to the “Policies on Late Assignments” section of your Syllabus.

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