The amount or the part of nature used by a person to satisfy his needs is known as an ecological footprint. It is a measure of the demands and the consumption of natural resources, made by people. It is a yardstick that gives an idea, whether a man is living within the means of what is available in nature for him, or to what extent he exceeds this limit.
More precisely, measuring your ecological footprint consists of the determination of the land area and water resources used for providing the daily needs of a person, energy production, absorption of the waste, and greenhouse gas emissions. This area is measured in global hectares (gha), and according to some estimates, Earth can sustain the use of about 1.9 gha per person.
Common Ways to Reduce Ecological Footprint
The share of the global resources consumed by a large part of the society is very high. This has led to a tremendous imbalance in the ecology. Reduction of the ecological footprint should be carried out by every responsible citizen of this planet, in order to secure a decent future for the upcoming generations. The ways for undertaking this are quite simple, and can be easily practiced in the daily routine with a bit of determination and responsibility.
- A sure method is to set realistic goals, and to create awareness for the need of solving environmental issues. Involve every member of your family and friends to raise awareness about the need to reduce the ecological footprint on an individual level.
- Small steps like buying organic and locally grown food can help in a big way. It reduces the footprint generated by food or goods transported around the world, which forms a part of unnecessary spending and wastage of resources like fuel and manpower. The sustainability and proper use of local resources, and a healthy and fresh consumption of food leading to a much better society, is guaranteed by this small endeavor. A 2007 United Nations survey points out the fact that global livestock resources are a big cause of environmental pollution, more than the effect of transportation footprints. Meat eating leads to the demand for more livestock, and hence, necessitates heavy deforestation and utilization of more grazing lands. Thus, changing from a meat eating to a vegetarian person is more effective in reducing ecological footprint, than changing your vehicle to get a more fuel efficient one.
- The use of public transport in most of the cases, and walking or cycling short distances, is another way to ensure less damage to Earth's ecology. This reduces your carbon footprint, ensures a good physical and mental health, saves money, and ensures a greener, uncrowded, and a healthy ecology.
- Use clean and green sources for electricity generation. Utilizing alternative sources like wind, solar, or tidal energy must be encouraged as the existing fossil fuel are degrading the quality of the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced by use of halogen bulbs instead of the conventional lighting, and also by turning off devices when not in use. Conservation and avoiding excess use of electricity are vital for bringing down ecological footprint.
- Use recycled products, avoid the use of plastic bottles, plastic bags and cans, encourage community use of tap water rather than bottled ones, stop overuse of water, etc., are a very small steps for an individual. But the same methods can cause a huge positive impact in reduction of global warming and climate change.
- Plant and nurture tress as much as possible. These are our best friends, and ensuring their presence in large numbers is the best way to ensure a clean, green, and lively planet.
These can be the most easily accomplished targets, if you are firm about lowering your share of ecological footprints. In America, eating meat is a bigger pollutant, and contributes more to emission of greenhouse gases than use of automobiles. Thus, a simple step of reducing the consumption of meat may be a small effort. But if every American follows it, the positive effect that it can render to the environment, can be heartening.
Thus, however small your initiative may appear, always remember that reducing your ecological footprint will definitely have a positive impact on you, and your forthcoming generations.