Sunday, June 12, 2005

What's your impact on the environment?

I've found two more self-tests that help you understand your impact on the environment. They were very thought provoking. One is published by Redefining Progress, (the link is on the right side of the page) an organization committed to working with "a broad array of partners to shift the economy and public policy towards sustainability." One of their partners is Earth Day International, and together they have developed the Ecological Footprint Quiz.


It did all three for me. My footprint was higher than average. And it would take 6.6 Earths to sustain my consumption if everybody used as much as I did. I am definitely trapped in suburbia! The best part was they had a way to calculate the difference you could make if you changed your behavior. It was a great motivator. I am going to do a little research so I can input my consumption more accurately. I would love to track the change in my numbers.

The second self-test is the Personal CO2 Calculator published by ICLEI.

ICLEI's mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global sustainability with special focus on environmental conditions through cumulative local actions.

This quiz will require you to dig up your bills to calculate your emissions. It will provide you with numbers to compare your emissions with others around the world and a few suggestions for reducing them and saving money.

Mine were really high because of the lack of public transportation, the need for air conditioning and my bi-coastal travel. I had never added up my annual electricity costs, either. That was an eye opener. We have a relatively new house that is well insulated (storm windows, etc.) so I guess our best bet is to turn off those lights and computer, replace the bulbs, use the minimum air and heating.

The first step in any change is getting accurate feedback about your starting point. And as they say in business, "if you don't measure it, it doesn't exist." So I encourage you to invest the time and effort in raising your own consciousness by taking these tests (plus the one I mentioned on June 10th).


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