Footprint Calculations in Action

After watching and then reviewing The Ecological Footprint, I went to the Global Footprint Network’s website, which was loaded with valuable information.  There was one tool on the site that I found particularly exciting.

The footprint calculator is by far one of the most beautifully designed tools I’ve come across.  You answer questions about your lifestyle in order to calculate just how large your individual ecological footprint is.  

You can choose to answer with very basic choices, or you can go in depth.  For example, when asked about the home you live in, you can simply choose to give square footage, or you can go even further and discuss things like what kind of siding is on your home.  The more in depth your answers are, the more accurate the end result is.

This is all very basic, though, and I said the footprint calculator was beautiful.  There must be more to it, then, right?

Of course.

The calculator begins by having you create an avatar.  Your avatar is then set on an empty lot.  As you answer the questions the lot becomes more and more crowded.  Your answers determine what gets placed on or beside the lot.  This is done in such a manner that you have no choice but to become aware of just how big of an ecological footprint you have.  The emotional impact is high.

In a word, brilliant.

Then you get the results.  You find out how many global acres it takes to support your way of life.  It shows you (literally) how many earths would be needed if every single person lived the way you do.  The results even break everything down into percentages so you can see what areas in your life need the most modification to bring your footprint down.
So what are you waiting for?  Go to the footprint calculator and see what yours is like!  I look forward to talking about my own results in a future post.