Redefining Progress was one of the first organizations to promote the idea of an “ecological footprint” via a test of sorts that could provide a tangible measurement of one’s impact on the globe. The test has now been revised and is a fair bit more sophisticated. In their words:
The Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates the area of land and ocean required to support your consumption of food, goods, services, housing, and energy and assimilate your wastes. Your ecological footprint is expressed in “global hectares” (gha) or “global acres” (ga), which are standardized units that take into account the differences in biological productivity of various ecosystems impacted by your consumption activities. Your footprint is broken down into four consumption categories: carbon (home energy use and transportation), food, housing, and goods and services. Your footprint is also broken down into four ecosystem types or biomes: cropland, pastureland, forestland, and marine fisheries.
It’s got a few flaws, namely, asking me how many miles I travel per year on planes, autos etc. I have no idea. I’d think it would be more useful if they just asked how many flights I take, or how I commute. But as with all these things it’s more about the thought process that it evokes. I scored 2.60 earths. However, playing with the settings and picking the best possible answers it look like it’s actually impossible to score below 1 earth if you live in the US. Interesting…
For your Friday fun, take the quiz and let us know what you think!