Ecological Footprint, Your “Greenness” Measured

my-footprint

Here is my plan:

To be more specific:

Ten actions that increase my footprint:

  • Having around a shoebox of garbage per day
  • Uses 10 + minutes to shower
  • Having non-organic food
  • Having non-local BC grown food
  • Having non-free range chickens and their eggs
  • Not using a water –saving shower head
  • Hardly ever wear ¾ of the clothes I own
  • Have a second home with others
  • Spending 1 hour + on the computer daily
  • Usually spend time carpooling with others

How I plan on changing my five actions:

  1. In order for me to remember to reduce my showering time, the first thing I must do is to write a sticky note by my shower. I am not very good at recalling thoughts, especially when I am tired and just want to sleep. I found that the best way to remember things is to write it down. I will also tell my parents to remind me of this, as it serves as an additional layer of defense against forgetting. When I am showering, I will turn on the stopwatch on my watch to time myself, and I could also record my times to see how I have improved.
  2. I will tell my parents that I need to donate some clothes that I don’t need (they can also remind me to do it as a bonus). I am writing it in my planner so I can do that today. They could sort them out with me if they want, and then on Wednesday, when I go to cadets, I could drop them off at a thrift store near me which I don’t recall the name of.
  3. I will also have to tell my parents that we should try having organic and free-range meat in addition to the organic vegetable and fruits, which we are slowly transitioning to. It shouldn’t be a big challenge for them since we are already buying organic for most of our food, excluding meat. I will probably have to look up some scientific paragraphs explaining why non-organic and mass produced meat is not good for us, but I think that they will accept the challenge without to much struggle.
  4. To do this first I have to write it down in my planner. With a bit of luck, I can do it tonight so that it doesn’t escape my mind. I will ask for the water-saving shower head that I already have, and I can hopefully install it without any problems. If not my dad is pretty good at these kinds of things so I can just get him to help. There would not be any problem asking him to help either, so I just have to remember.
  5. This is about saving, reusing and lowering consumption of things in my daily life. I told my parents that they could remind me not to grab souvenirs that I know I am not going to look at ever again. Also, since motivation is the key to sustaining and retaining this goal, I will watch a few videos on reducing garbage that goes to the landfill to give myself a sense of determination. I hope with an increased awareness, knowledge and interest in the current conditions of Earth’s lingering garbage, I can inspire myself to live out a greener life by using less paper, not taking things that I don’t need, re-use old item and repurpose them, etc., and positively motivate everyone around me to do the same.

    Execution and Reflections

What I found was easy:

  • Easy to mount the new shower head
    • Even though I didn’t expect it to be very hard (because I thought my dad would help me), it turned out to be not that hard after following the instruction manual on the new head.
  • Not throwing away reusable stuff
    • On most cases I remembered to re-use stuff that I would throw away. This includes paper, crafts and broken tools.
  • Remembering to install shower head and donate clothes
    • It turned out to be a easy thing to remember to do, maybe my memory is getting better after TALONS training…
  • Convincing my parents to buy organic meat
    • because we were already on organics for everything else, and since I tried really hard to convince them by sending them a lot of articles and doing a 6 hat modeled conversation, they agreed without much delay.
  • donating
    • Donating to my local thrift store was easy as well. They didn’t check like if I have a disease that I’ll leave on the clothes, and I suspected they won’t. But the submission process was easy and I even got a coupon.

what I found was hard:

  • Paying attention to the timer when showering
    • it will take a while for me to get used to looking at the timer. It helps by setting the timer right before the shower so at least it’s in short term memory. Well, the past 4 days I’ve been sleeping so late I could say that my showering habit is already changing to less than 5 minutes.
  • Remembering to set the timer
    • Again, since it is not a habit yet, it takes time to remember, especially since it is not something super big and flashy that goes into your sight every time.
  • Sort out the clothes to donate
    • it is actually a very time consuming task since I need to try everything on to see if they are actually small. Also I need to sort out clothes that I may be able to give to my sister in the future.
  • thinking of a way to use reusable stuff
    • it takes creativity to find odd ways of using certain things like broken toys that I used for cushioning chairs.
  • remember to not grab things that I don’t need and save things around me(paper)
    • it is something that we do so often we just instinctively do it. Flick of the wrist, and then you realize you should have done that. Trying to overcome my instincts and remembering to re-use is like [insert metaphor that describes something hard].

Obstacles?

Some of the more obvious obstacles that I encountered were things and people like the shower head that won’t unscrew and my dad who won’t help me. But after a more careful look I can see that the real obstacle is actually myself. When I am sorting through my clothes sometimes I don’t want to give something away because there is just the slimmest chance that I will wear it. When I should reuse paper for scrap paper, I feel like it’s too much effort to go upstairs and grab my math folder. It’s like how Leon Brown puts it:

You are your worst enemy. It is your thoughts that hold you back. Nothing else.

the Future

In the future, I hope to further reduce my footprint by taking baby steps towards fixing more actions in which currently amounts to my footprint. I have already identified actions like buying a more efficient lawn sprinkler  and making my own “smart” light or heater control using skills I learnt during In-Depth.

I also want to volunteer with organizations active in this area.  I am already part of the Green Chair recycling organization, but I had never actually done any volunteer work with them. By helping make our community a greener place, I hope that others can learn the current state that our Earth is in, and inspire them to step up as well. After all, we can never care about things we don’t know about.

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