Nature needs time to regenerate, renew and clean itself. If humanity stays within the 1,7 hectare ecological footprint, these processes will provide us with the conditions necessary for life. If we outgrow this, we are taking away food from tomorrow’s pantry and our children, leaving them nothing but an Earth drowning in garbage and oil. One person’s ecological footprint in Qatar 12,6 hectare, in the USA 7,99 hectare, in Austria, 5.44 hectare. There are some who think by taking their needs to a smaller level, their standard of living will decline. However, this is not true. Here are 5 really helpful tips on how can we live more happy with a lesser ecological footprint.
Every human activity has an effect on Earth, as it needs land and freshwater, it produces garbage and emits harmful materials. The ecological footprint is the unit of this effect, which is made up of 6 main parts. If we know these and have an understanding of their relationship with human lifestyle, we can become easily ecologically conscious.
- Carbon footprint: The amount of woodland needed to absorb CO2 from fossil fuels and chemical processes.
- Pasture footprint: The size of the area needed to keep animals for their meat, milk, skin or fur.
- Wood footprint: The size of the area needed to create firewood, furniture and paper.
- Fish footprint: The size of area needed for fresh and saltwater fishing.
- Field footprint: The size of area needed to produce plants for human consumption, feeding animals and to create biofuel.
- Built-up areas: Homes, roads, industrial areas, all areas used up by infrastructure.
A day off for the car!
Whenever we can, let’s leave the car at home. Walk to the shop of sit on a bike. It helps our legs and we move our tightened body during work, also it refreshes mental activity. If we have to travel further, use public transport or organize carpooling to reach a common destination. During a five kilometer trip with a car, 10 times more emissions get into the air if we took the bus, and 25 times more if we took the train.
Natural and eco-friendly products.
The little icons on the back of our household chemicals indicate fairly well how poisonous they are for our environment and for us. Eco cleaning materials offer a solution but nothing is more better for our wallet and our home than baking soda, vinegar, washing soda and salt. Vinegar has a purifying and deodorant effect, it dissolves lime stones, with baking soda, the effect is even more intensive. If used as a fabric softener, vinegar is great color care for the clothes, and if we use just the right amount, our clothes won’t smell. If we’d like to make sure, just add a few drops of essential oil. Washing soda does a great job with everyday dirty clothes, color and white as well, while salt helps remove stains.
Fortunately, a lot of companies are trying to reduce their ecological footprint. We not only have a chance to buy eco-friendly cleaning products, but almost everything. There are hybrid and electric cars, human and eco-friendly wall paint, furniture and accessories from recycled materials and of course caraWonga modular carpets.
Instead of nylon and paper bags.
The decay time of a nylon bag is between 200 and 1000 years. This incredibly high number speaks for itself. Paper bags dissolve in about a month, but during their manufacture, chemicals and wood pulp is used. Of course, a textile bag has to be produced as well, but unlike a paper bag which we use and then throw away (and buy a new one when we shop next time), our textile bag stays with us for years. If we have nylon bags at home, use them for disposing garbage, or take them with you shopping, recycling them within our home.
Produce less waste!
I will unpack this, I ate this, this in not current any more, I don’t need this, this is empty, this is overdue…and our garbage bin is full. With a little more conscious shopping, we can reduce the waste in our bin easily. Instead of pre-packed goods and tins, choose fresh materials. Do not accept or take home flyers. Buy just the amount that you will eat. 40% of wasted foodstuffs come from households. Write a shopping list so you will only buy what you need! Pay attention to expiration dates of food so they don’t go to waste before you use them. If something goes broken, try to fix it first, do not run to the shop to get a new one. If we have furniture, toys or clothes we don’t use, sell them, or give them to charity, we don’t just make less garbage this way but help others.
Reducing the consumption of meat and meat products.
Join the movement of Meatless Monday! Try new flavors, meatless delicacies. Your plate will not only be violence free but your carbon footprint will be reduced. 1,5 hectares of fields are needed to supply the needs of 1 meat-eater, while on the same size area, 6 lacto-vegetarians would thrive. And then we did not mention vegans, who don’t eat milk and related products.
One hamburger is responsible for as much greenhouse gas as if we took a 200 km car ride. Big animals kept for their meat need a lot of space…the production of red meat damages the Earth the most, because we have to take in account the methane emissions of ruminant animals.
If we have a big protein needs, instead of meat and milk products, try leguminous plants, they do not lag behind in calories. 1 cup of ground meat contains 230 kcal of energy, while the same amount of beans contain 240 kcal.
“The world has sufficient resources to meet everyone’s needs, but that is not to satisfy everyone’s greed!” (Mahatma Gandhi)
Check how big your footprint is: WWF – http://footprint.wwf.org.uk