In 2007, the global environmental footprint was computed at 18 billion hectares while the productive land resources are only at about 11.9 billion hectares. This figure indicates a big overshoot in the current resources that are available worldwide compared to the consumption and waste production of humans. This alarming figure should send a clear message that we should do something about our environmental footprint now. Disregarding it will greatly affect human and animal survival in the coming years.
The ultimate question is how to reduce the environmental footprint? Each person, group of people, government, and various organizations can have a significant contribution to have a positive impact on the environmental footprint.
Individually, here are simple things you can do:
- Reduce consumption of resources. Anything you consume or use, from the food you eat to the fuel you use in your car, requires energy to make or transport. The less resource you consume, the less energy you use and the less footprint you leave.
- Buy recycled or recyclable products. Buying recycled or recyclable products leaves a positive impact to the environment because it can help reduce waste and reduce the amount of new resources that will be used for new products.
- Be as energy efficient as possible. Try your best to be as energy efficient in your own home or when using transportation. In your home, you could use energy-efficient appliances and lightings. For transportation, try to practice a more sustainable transport system. If you are travelling alone to work or school, try to use the public transportation or try carpooling if possible. The less you drive the less fuel you consume.
- Protect green spaces. If you have a farm with green spaces or if you have several trees surrounding your house, protect these spaces by not cutting down the trees. Trees do help in dealing with air footprint as they absorb carbon dioxide and give in oxygen.
- Buy locally grown fruits, vegetables and meat products. Buying locally grown foods will reduce the transportation footprint on food which is currently averaging 1,300 miles. Travelling long distances requires the use of energy. Better yet, you can have your own garden in your backyard.
- Avoid or reduce the use of toxic or poisonous products. While it is normal for many households to use commercial cleaning products that contain toxic substances, try to make your own using natural products such as baking soda and vinegar which are also known for their cleaning potential. That way, you can reduce the impact these toxic products have to the air and to the environment as a whole.
- Implement better waste management. Observe better waste management in your home by segregating garbage and separating recyclable and biodegradable waste from the rest of your garbage. You could send your recyclables to recycling stations and make compost out of biodegradable waste.
- Share your knowledge to others. You can also help your friends and neighbors reduce their environmental footprint by sharing your knowledge to them. Working as a community will have a greater positive impact to the environment.
Additionally, if your organization, community or government implements projects that will help reduce environmental footprint, support them and convince others to show their support as well. Although changes start slowly and individually, it is only by working together that significant reduction in environmental footprint can be achieved. There is no other perfect time to do it than now.