“The way we harm the earth affects all people and how we treat one another is reflected in how we treat the earth.”
~ Paul Hawken, Environmentalist, Activist, Entrepreneur, and Author
Everywhere we go and everything we do has an impact on our planet. This impact is our ecological footprint.
An ecological footprint measures the amount of resources we use, either directly or indirectly. Sometimes our ecological footprint can be obvious: the amount of water you use while taking a shower, is one example. But more often than not, our ecological footprint is harder to see, like the fossil fuel used to transport your food to your plate. When you add up the resources each of us consumes directly and indirectly, the collective impact is much bigger than you’d likely imagine.
One piece of our ecological footprint is our individual carbon footprint which represents the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) we use. Activities like driving cars, heating and cooling homes, and turning on lights all contribute to our carbon footprint and to the greenhouse gas effect. Why does that matter? As more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, more heat is trapped, and that exacerbates climate change. The effects of climate change are already occurring before our eyes. For the past two years, each month has been recorded as the hottest month in history.
How can you make a difference? The conversation around environmentalism usually leaves people with the assumption that we can’t have much of an impact as one person. But, we fail to recognize the power of our human handprint. Unlike your footprint, your handprint reflects the positive environmental impacts you create at an individual level.
As PGC continues, you’ll accumulate more resources to help reduce your footprint and grow your handprint. Becoming informed and educating others is a monumental step in the right direction. In today’s challenge, you’ll explore the real impact and implications of your daily actions.
Small changes in your daily habits and consumption patterns may not seem significant in a world of nearly 8 billion people. But every decision you make contributes to the well-being of humans, other species and the planet. Consider what the world would look like if each person simply consumed less stuff and demanded more ethically produced goods. Those small changes start to add up and make a massive difference.
Calculate and record your footprint using the Global Footprint Network’s calculator.
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Earth Overshoot Day refers to the date in which humans have used more from nature than what Earth can naturally replenish in the entire year. Earth Overshoot Day was on August 1 in 2018, August 3 in 2017, and August 5 in 2016. In 1970 it fell on December 29. Even though this year’s overshoot day has already occurred, it’s not too late to join the movement to help #movethedate back in 2019 to ensure the health and wellbeing of our future!
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As you might expect, every person’s ecological footprint is different, especially when you compare consumption around the world. Consider this, only ⅓ of the world’s people consume ¾ of the global resources. This means that 1/3 of all humans are placing immense pressure on the rest of the world to produce a high number of goods. This unequal consumption creates and reinforces a critical imbalance in our global society. Given this all of this information, what do you believe our leaders should be doing to make an impactful change?
Ever dreamed of being the President? Here’s your chance! As your country’s President for the next 24 hours, how would you counteract humanity’s growing footprint?
Get creative! Show us your best problem solving skills.
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