What's Your Share
Are you treading lightly on the Earth or stomping around in size 22 clodhoppers?
The answer is probably the latter, if you're a North American.
Compared to a person living anywhere else in the world,
a North American consumes a far greater share of the Earth'sresources.
But what about you?
To measure the size of your own ecological footprint, take this test
|Step 1: Calculate your resource use||Step 2: Multiply by the number of acres it takes to support that use|
|Item/Your Use||x||Factor in Acres||=|
|Gas ___ gal/person(p)/month(m)||x||0.12||=|
|Veggies & fruit _____ lbs/p/m||x||.008||=|
|Grain, pasta, bread_____ lbs/p/m||x||.023||=|
|Milk & yogurt_____ qts/p/m||x||.054||=|
|Beef _____ lbs/p/m||x||.4||=|
|Meals out_____ # of meals||x||.09||=|
|Electric use_____ kwh/p/m||x||.005||=|
|City gas_____ CCF/p/m||x||.04||=|
|Electronics, phone, entertainment, insurance, appliances_____ $/p/m||x||.02||=|
|Step 3: Add the column on the right to estimate how many acres it takes to support you.||Footprint estimate in acres||=|
To find our how you stack up, compare your score with these average footprints (in acres per person):
World Average - 7
Mexico - 6
China - 4
India - 2
Bangladesh - 1
United States - 24
Canada - 18
Russian Federation - 11
Shrinking the footprint disparity
If the size of your ecological footprint reveals that you're currently using more than your fair share of the global commons, don't despair. Sustainability is still possible if we both reduce footprint disparity and have, on average, smaller families for 100 years. If you're one of the people whose footprint is too large, shrinking it will save you money and time. If your footprint is too small, increasing its size to move out of poverty will encourage you to have a smaller family. It's a win-win!
|Projected Population in 2100||Footprint/person|
|One-child families 1 Billion||6 acres|
|Two-child families 9 Billion||0.7 acres|
· How much Earth is there? 125.8 billion acres
· How much bio-productive land and sea? 30.9 billion acres
· Current human population: 6 billion
· How much do humans on average use globally? 7 acres
· How much bio-capacity is there per person leaving nothing for the other species? 5.2 acres
· Estimated number of species on Earth? 25 million
Jim Merkel is author of the Global Living Handbookand founder of the Global Living Project, which runs an annual summer experiment in sustainable living.Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.globallivingproject.org/bios.html, 250/355-2585, GLP, Gr4 C.17 RR#1 Winlaw, BC VOG 2JO, Canada.
"Ecological Footprinting" was developed by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees.
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