Starting Point: Let's Calculate Our Ecological Footprints
Friday, June 29, 2012 at 4:40PM
Lee Van Ham in From Lee, book excerpts, choices, ecological footprint, multi Earth

No matter which ecological footprint calculator I use, the results come out the same: I use more of Earth’s ecosystems annually than what they generate. My lifestyle is too big for our one planet. So, I use more than my share, depriving others of theirs. I take advantage of the economic and political systems that privilege me over other people. But not only people, I also endanger the habitats of animals and plants. The Earth Day Network footprint calculator tells me I’m requiring 3.7 planets. Ouch! A similar calculator at the Center for Sustainable Economics doesn’t soothe me either. Its criteria calculate me at 3.59 Earths. Their website explains how science continually updates the metrics by which footprints are calculated to assure the greatest accuracy possible.

How can my footprint be so large? I’m trying so hard to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink. A recent decision that my spouse, Juanita, and I made is just one example. When we faced $1000 or more of repairs to our 1998 Honda Civic, we opted for a previously owned 2004 Toyota Prius, upping our miles per gallon from 34 to 50. But there’s no getting around those footprint calculations. When I look at myself in their mirror, who do I see? I see a Multi Earther, a conqueror of Eden.

Deep within me lives the unshakeable conviction that Earth generates abundance for all life on the planet, not just for me, and not just for my family or my country — not even just for humans, but for all animals and plants. A share of that abundance belongs to each of us. It’s that share that I want to learn about and live with. Not 3.7 of the shares. How I’ve come to this point, and my quest to change, is what this blog is about.

Article originally appeared on OneEarth sustainability amid climate change (http://theoneearthproject.com/).
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