Tag Archives: renewable energy

Our backpack is too heavy – Thoughts on the ecological footprint

Thoughts on the ecological footprint

ecological footprint
ecological footprint ©Iris Streit

A sustainable lifestyle includes a lot of aspects. You can easily get bogged down in details or feel overchallenged. Since the calculation of the own ecological footprint can be helpful.

In this method, all areas of life are taken into account, which consume energy and resources on the one hand and on the other hand have waste products and CO2 emissions as a result. So when individuals nutrition, consumption, mobility and housing. All this adds up the surface in nature, which is necessary for the provision or absorbance. It is measured in global hectares (gha). Comparing the own value with the one our earth has available in total – that’s an average of 1.8 gha – you quickly detect, if you use too much and on what screws you should turn. In Germany, the average value is currently at 5.1 gha. So we take more than nature can give. An African has an ecological footprint of 1.4 gha on average, an Indian even only 0.9 gha (as of 2012). Considering the ecological footprint around the world, we would need 2.8 times our earth to meet the demand.

Sustainable Lifestyle

Saving opportunities arise, for example, by switching to green electricity, so the use of renewable energy, by reducing meat consumption or the use of public transport and the reduction of air travel. A conscious consumption with the focus on consumer durables as well as regional and seasonal foods also reduce your own footprint.

ecological footprint
ecological footprint ©Iris Streit

But all alone you can not do against a lot of the already visible signs of climate change caused by too many greenhouse gases, deforestation, overfishing and the waste problem. You feel lost quickly, considering the full implications of the topic. And quite often creeps up a doubt whether you can even play a part in improving the situation. Isn’t my own contribution so tiny that it does not matter at all?

But if you sum up the impact of lifestyle of all individuals, your own behavior just has one meaning. And if it was just that by your own acting conversations and discussions with friends or colleagues are initiated, which then lead to an awareness of all those involved. This can work as a snowball system. The more people interact more and more conscious of our resources, the greater the effect.

However, it does not work without the companies and local authorities, business and politics. Rethinking unfortunately does not happen overnight. But if we do not try, then nothing will change. If all save energy, resources and waste here and there, a lot would be gained.

More information on the topic you can find in my article at Huffington Post.