Yesterday I got an email from non-profit organization, Earth Day Network, to try out its new ecological footprint calculator, which measures how much biologically productive land and sea is used by a given population or activity, and compares this to how much land and sea is available. Over the past year, I've made a concerted effort to reduce, reuse and recycle, so I was anxious to see how those efforts affected my score.
The answer was extremely depressing. Even though I hang my clothes to dry, grow a garden, compost, buy mostly used clothes and household goods, and recycle every bit of paper, cardboard, and plastic that I can, it still would take FOUR planet earths to provide enough resources to maintain my lifestyle. But the worst part of the quiz was the suggestions it made to help me reduce my footprint more, like installing solar panels on my home and giving up my car. Yeah, I would love to install solar panels, but I don't have an extra $20,000 in my checking account to pay for it. And public transportation in Colorado is so sparse, there is no way I'm going to drag my two boys from one bus to another to get from home, to school, to the store, etc.
Instead of feeling inspired, I felt angry and frustrated after completing this quiz. All my current efforts to protect the environment are just a drop in the bucket, so WHY BOTHER?? It would a hell of a lot easier, for example, to throw my wet clothes in the dryer instead of a hanging them up to dry.
But I still believe in baby steps are better than nothing. Environmental activism is such a non-issue for the the majority of the population, the folks at Earth Day Network shouldn't be scaring people to death with gloom and doom scenarios. Instead, they should be encouraging small, reasonable changes people can make to improve the environment, and build upon it.
If you're a glutton for punishment, click here to take Ecological Footprint quiz.
3 days ago