My Ecological Footprint

By: Camryn Ball

What is an ecological footprint?

  • It is the measurement of your impact on the land resources needed to support a population. It incorporates water and energy use, forms of agriculture, forests, and all other things that people require in their day-to-day lives.
  • It can be measured individually, for cities, regions, countries, or for the whole planet.
  • Factors that affect an areas ecological footprint are driving, flying, home energy, food & diet, and recycling & waste.

Compare your footprint to the national and world averages

  • My household's (5 people) carbon footprint is around 85 tons of CO2 per year.
  • The U.S. average for 5 people is 130 tons of CO2 per year.
  • The world average is 28 tons of CO2 per year.

How would your carbon footprint change if you lived in the Massachusetts scenario? Why?

I think it would be a positive change. The tons of CO2 my household would emit would decrease because we would own a smaller house and a smaller car. Although, it wouldn't decrease the miles we would have to drive every day so it wouldn't be a drastic change.

Which factors have the biggest effect on your carbon footprint

  • I think driving has the biggest impact on my carbon footprint because everyone has a car and we wouldn't be able to get around without them.
  • As you drive your car, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, and lead are pumped out of your tailpipe.
  • The carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides react with molecules in the air which contribute to acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer.

Ways to reduce carbon emissions

Carpool

  • Pros: Less gases released into the atmosphere.
  • Cons: You may have to follow the person's schedule you're riding with.

Use cold water

  • Pros: Lowers your water bill
  • Cons: You might have to take colder showers than you are used to

Use heating and cooling efficiently

  • Pros: Lowers your electricity bill
  • Cons: Your house could get too hot or too cold

Short term and long term effects of these changes

  • Short term: If you participated in helping the environment you would feel better, like you were making a difference.
  • Long term: You will make a huge impact on your environment and improve your carbon footprint.

Climate change?

We can actually change the climate by the amount of CO2 we produce. This surprised me because in order to change the climate, we must produce way to much CO2.