Yes, I’m alive. Now check your ecological footprint.

So, it turns out that grad school is time consuming. Who knew?! My goal this year was to become a really reliable blogger. We’re working on that. My new goal is to at least not be a blogger who leaves people for more than a week.

I’m already about half-way through my first semester. I’ve already changed my concentrations (from nonprofit management & water resources to food policy & applied ecology, which I think we can all agree makes much more sense). I’ve already cried on the phone with my mom. I’ve already started studying for my first set of midterms.

To give myself what I thought would be a quick mood boost, I took the ecological footprint test. I thought we’d look pretty good–florescent bulbs, everything unplugged each night, eating local, supporting organic agriculture…

Ecological Footprint Quiz by Redefining ProgressAnd it turns out that it would take more than 2.5 earths to support my lifestyle. I encourage all of you to take the test, not only to see how many planets we should all be living on, but for the helpful tips. Each question has a link to ways you can improve your practices–how to save money on water & groceries, cut down on electricity. What’s great about living conscious of your footprint is that many of the actions make sense economically. (I mean, I couldn’t throw a solar panel on my apartment or buy a Prius, but I can rely more on natural light & look for a used Civic that gets 40 miles/gallon. You work with it, & you aim to keep getting better.)

Because this is what we’re looking at:

The per capita totals would take more than 1.5 earths, & that’s with a big thanks to traditional cultures that operate without cars or electricity or imported food or iPods or whatever. As we become increasingly global, we’re relying on more globe than we’ve got.

So, take a moment today. What’s one thing you could do less of to reduce your impact? How about more of?

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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