I have taken three countries where I have lived in my life for this exercise of calculating my ecological footprint:
1. Ecuador, from where I come from, and where I have spent 90% of my life. A small natural paradise in this world, where protected areas represent more 20% of its territory, where organic food is considered normal, hydroelectric power is the primary source of electricity, and its condition of under develop country is supposed to be related to our consumer habits. The result: 2.1 planets earth necessary if everyone lives my lifestyle.
Image 01: Ecological footprint in Ecuador (source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/)
2. Switzerland, while living an exchange year program I could experience the life in the middle of Europe. A very wealthy country, with high standards of quality of living, but also a very traditional country which efforts to consume local products, use the bicycle to commute and recycle as much as possible. The result: 2.5 planets earth necessary if everyone lives a lifestyle as I had back then.
Image 02: Ecological footprint in Switzerland (source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/)
3. The USA, finally I decided to prove to myself that by residing in Pittsburgh for the graduate program, I can contribute to my effort of reducing my ecological footprint. I was thinking that by living just with one more person I will use less electricity at home, as well to not generate a lot of garbage, also living close to the university will give me the opportunity to commute easily by public transportation or walking, and lastly by trying to improve all the knowledge that I have to reduce my consumer habits will be reflected in my footprint. I was wrong, the result: 4.9 planets earth necessary to provide enough resources if everyone lives my lifestyle!
Image 03: Ecological footprint in USA (source: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/)
I resolve that the repetitiveness of the problem is me and my habits of consuming, living, traveling, etc. This exercise is a wake-up call for any future consideration and decision, but also an excellent method to show how I can make some resolutions to start lowering my footprint. I will start by sharing this post and web page to my friends and relatives, so this could be a snowball effect.
“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” – Dalai Lama