Saturday, May 24, 2014

Carbon Footprint Challenge - class assignment

Reflection: I have honestly never done an ecological footprint of my lifestyle, neither considered doing it. I have vaguely heard of the idea, but I didn’t see any importance or urgency to do it. So, as I was doing the assignment, I was actually forced to consider every little thing I do in my daily life which I never really thought of before. Even small things like recycling, or the amount of meat you eat, and turning off the lights could contribute so much to your ecological footprint. I feel that if I had known everything in detail, it would have been more accurate. Based on the quiz results, my first reaction was well, “it could have been worse”, but it’s not exactly great either. Since we only really have resources from one earth, and already, my daily lifestyle is doing harm to the world, if everyone on earth decided to adopt it. That’s not even considering other people’s lifestyles that might be more exhaustive than mine. I guess it’s due to the fact that we live in a consumerist world which is demand-driven, using a lot of space, resources and energy, and where most of the stuff we buy is manufactured and easily available off the counter.

Two things suggested to reduce my ecological footprint: A lot of things are listed to help reduce carbon foot print, which I will keep for personal references. If I had to pick two, it would be to reduce animal products by half and purchasing products with less packaging, since I’ve pretty much tried my best to do the rest like recycling and energy-saving habits. In terms of setting up solar panels and energy efficient appliances that pretty much depends on the state of finance and at my landlord or household’s discretion. Traveling short distances is do-able. However, reducing animal products by half and purchasing products with less packaging would be the most difficult to do, as I do enjoy my meat products, egg and dairy, but this, in fact, was the most resource taxing as it requires large areas of land, resource and energy for farming, manufacturing as well as energy consumption in long distance transport. Eating food higher up on the food change requires a lot more energy and resources because you have to produce food to feed the animals you rear before you could eat it, and that requires even more resources and energy as compared to simply eating vegetables and fruits. Although it’s pretty much difficult to suddenly change your diet for something more sustainable, I guess, it doesn’t hurt to try. I could google alternative recipes for low impact food that could potentially be delicious. As for purchasing products with less packaging it’s also quite a challenge since most stuff come in packages nowadays for mobility and preservation or marketing purposes, but I guess that means that, if let’s say I’m buying groceries, then I could try to go buy fresh ones that don’t come in packages, as non-local produce has a large carbon footprint due to the fertilizers, land use and transportation, or I could put in a little effort keeping an eye out for biodegradable packaging.

Why I would/would not do it: Well, I did mention that I would give it a try. It wouldn’t be easy since you’re accustomed to your own lifestyle, but looking at how much my activities and consumption can affect the environment, I guess I have to give it a try. I also looked at the ecological footprint trends for other countries and I realize how important it is to adopt sustainable lifestyles as resources decline very fast while at the same time, ecological footprints are increasing. I would like to help reduce it, as I would want a sustainable environment for future generations.

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