This post originally appeared on the JustGreen Community website.
Your carbon footprint. When we think “carbon footprint,” we generally fast-forward to: walk vs. drive, reusable cloth grocery bags vs. plastic bags, recycling and purchasing carbon offsets, carpooling, etc. Reducing ones carbon footprint has become a constant concern for many. But there’s another “footprint” we don’t often think about that’s just as important to the health of the planet – our ecological footprint.
Carbon Footprint vs. Ecological Footprint
Your carbon footprint measures the amount of carbon pollution you personally create that contributes to climate change and global warming. Your ecological footprint, by contrast, measures your demand on nature, meaning how much natural land and water resources you consume – essentially, it’s how much nature your life requires.
Reduce Your Ecological Footprint
Just as you take steps every day to reduce your carbon footprint, many of those same compromises can help alleviate your demand on nature. One of the biggies: usecleaner methods of transportation; walk, bike or take public transportation instead of taking your car and avoid air travel by taking a bus or train, when possible. Cleaner transport means less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and a cleaner Earth.
Continue your nature-preservation efforts by adding a few energy-saving features to your home, such as eco-friendly light bulbs. Solar heating panels, rainwater collection systems and insulated walls and ceilings will also contribute to a smaller ecological footprint. Energy efficient appliances and non-toxic cleaning products are also great ways to conserve resources.
Finally, watch what you consume: what we put in our mouths has an effect on our overall energy consumption. Eat more local, organic and in-season foods that only require the minimal amount of energy and carbon output to get to you.
In any and all aspects of your life, there are literally hundreds of things you can do each and every day to reduce both your carbon and ecological footprints – and they generally go hand-in-hand. If more and more people make these Earth-healthy choices, we can begin to tame the tide of climate change.