Friday, March 5, 2010

Being a Leader by Changing your Ecological Footprint

Recently in XCEL we used this awesome quiz to make us aware of the affect we have on our environment on the Global Footprint Network website.

How does this website work?
It lets you know your ecological footprint, such as how many worlds it would take to sustain your way of living if everyone lived like you. It may seem extreme, but it has to do with the fact that the United States is a developed country that produces a lot of waste. The reason we are able to have one world, and not 5 as you might get in the foot print, is because many people do not live like us in the United States. Many countries are impoverished and underdeveloped, and do not make as much of an impact, or "footprint", on the world.

Take the quiz and find out your footprint!
Ecological Footprint Quiz

Comment back and tell us:
What is your footprint?
Does this make you want to change how you are affecting the world?
What actions can you take to lower your ecological impact?

Take a look at the "explore scenarios" portion at the end of the quiz to get some ideas on how you can change your environment for the better. 

It is a really interesting discussion and we would love to hear your feedback. You do not just need to take a stand to be a leader, you can be one by just setting an example for others. Start setting an example by helping out your environment!

Here are a few ways you can do it:
        1. Recycle more
        2. Buy more used clothing
        3. Ride your bike or take more public transportation over driving alone, carpool!
        4. Purchace more used clothing if you need to shop

To find more scenarios on how to help out your environment take the quiz and read some comments!

photo: (c) Ian Britton -


  1. According to this quiz, if everyone lived like me, we’d need 3.9 Planet Earths to provide enough resources. This is so disheartening! I feel as if I make a genuine effort to keep the environment in mind throughout my daily activities. If the rate I’m going at is still inefficient to save our planet, were doomed…most people I know are not nearly as concerned with how their actions affect our planet. In order to be able to develop countries that are currently living with nearly nothing, we must be able to do this in a sustainable way so as not to put us all in danger. I'm definitely going to show more people this blog so they can take this quiz and see their results, it's been a real eye opener.

  2. My ecological footprint is 4.8 earths! Even if I lowered my ecological impact drastically, it would not make much a huge difference; there needs to be a collective effort to become a more sustainable country. America has such a high ecological impact, therefore if you are an American, your footprint results will be very high regardless of what impact you reduce. Each step to reduce one's ecological impact is a step along the path to a more collective effort in the future. To lower my ecological impact I could reduce the amount of animal products I eat. If every American reduced by half, we'd use 645 million fewer global acres. Also, we can be more sustainable by using products that use less packaging or are made out of 100% post-consumer recycled material. If every American did this, we'd use 521 million fewer global acres, an area that could cover 391 million football fields. Additionally, if every American reduced the miles they fly, we'd use 63 million less global acres. I think that in order for there to be a more wide-scale effort to reduce our ecological impact as a country, the government needs to step-in with some sort of rule system. Otherwise, people believe that their impact is not too great and they blend with the crowd. Start spreading the news to get more people geared toward sustainability!-Danielle Knudsen

  3. My footprint was 3.7 earths! Meaning it would take 3.7 planet earths to sustain my way of living in resources, and I am sorry to day, but my footprint is considered to be low compared to the many other people I know. Therefore I feel the world needs to know about that the actions they are taking and the resources they are using are harmful to the environment. As a leader, we need to set an example to lower our impact on the world around us. I cannot do it on my own, and neither can just the XCEL center, or one other person. It takes a daily conscious effort from everyone to recycle more, use more post-consumer products, buy less band new clothing, use more public transportation such as buses, bikes, carpooling, use more renewable energy for your home, or eat less meat as Danielle commented above. By making small changes to your daily life each day, everyone can really start making a difference. However, at the rate we are going now, it seems like the world will not be around for future generations. Countries are developing, times are changing, technology is advancing, well we need to advance in how we are using the resources around us. It is scary to think how much we are affecting the environment, and I am going to express my thoughts and this quiz to others so that it can spread and hopefully change some more outlooks on life. This change cannot happen overnight, it will take a while, but it all starts with setting an example, by being a leader.