We are constantly sent on guilt trips about how much impact we are personally having on the environment, to the point where it often all gets too overwhelming. I like to look at this with a different filter – my cost of living, and I’m always interested in finding ways to reduce that.
Ecological footprint is an overall indicator of how much environmental impact we have through our day-to-day living, not just the energy we use but all of our lifestyle impacts such as food, clothing, transport and consumer goods. The majority of these entries relate to our lifestyle spending – some greener habits do cost more (for now), but most actually save us money – it’s simply about being smarter with how we do things.
There are some really useful personal eco-footprint calculators around which allow us to get a snapshot on how we can reduce our footprints (and save money in the process). Two in particular are worth playing with, and you’ll get a fairly similar result from either:
BioRegional’s One Planet Challenge: this calculator is based on UK metrics but that won’t be far off Australia’s. This one takes a holistic approach to our footprint and has some really nice messaging and learning around personal sustainability.
EPA Victoria’s Ecological Footprint Calculator: The graphic interaction in this one is cool (choose your hair colour).
With either of these you’ll get the same message and same ideas.
So our weekend challenge, should we choose to accept it, is to calculate our footprint, see how many planets we’d need, and to identify at least one element that we can work on to save some cash. I found half a dozen for myself and I’m looking forward to putting a bit more into the piggy bank.