Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz

Take the ecological footprint quiz, if you dare

Posted at 4:44 pm by Sarah Jackson of the Everett Herald

If you haven’t taken the Earth Day Network’s ecological footprint quiz, you probably should.It was definitely a wake-up call for me.It turns out your precious little Eco Geek isn’t as earth friendly as she had hoped.

After answering 15 questions about my transportation, housing and eating habits, I found out my exact ecological footprint – 22 acres, which is only about 2 acres better than the average person living in the United States, which comes in at 24 acres.“Worldwide, there exists 4.5 biologically productive acres per person,” the quiz told me. “If everyone lived like you, we would need 5.1 planets.”Yikes.That’s depressing.

Of course the quiz doesn’t take into account composting, chemical-free gardening, recycling, organics, good vibes or idle middle-class guilt or the fact that my entire city lot is only 3,000 square feet.Still, I’ve heard more than a few times the most important thing you can do to seriously help the planet is to drive less, and I drive more now than I ever have, hitting about 50 miles per weekday in a small but not super-efficient car. I’m sure that didn’t help my score.

Meanwhile, though I’m a big fan of buying local, especially local cheese and produce, this question really got me: “How much of the food that you eat is processed, packaged and not locally grown (from more than 200 miles away)? Choices included “most,” “three quarters,” “half, “one quarter,” and “very little.”

Well, I didn’t really want to say “most,” but I don’t think I could say that even ¼ of the things I eat are local, maybe one-fifth during a good week. I had to be an honest Eco Geek at least.

All this tells me I have some serious improving to do, especially when it comes time to replace my car. I really do want to go biodiesel or hybrid.

I think another step I need to take is a locally produced fruit and vegetable basket from SPUD or some other local service, which I’ve really been meaning to do. This could be just the nudge I need.

Take the quiz. Let me know how you do.

My co-worker, Herald writer Debra Smith, who drives less than 5 miles to work every day and who gets an organic produce basket every week, scored only 16 acres, so there’s hope for us yet.

No comments: