The Ecological Footprint we leave our Planet
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” – Native American Proverb
What is an ecological footprint?
An ecological footprint measures a population’s demand on and supply of nature. This tracks the use of productive surface areas such as cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land. The biocapacity represents the productivity of these ecological assets. These areas can also be helpful in absorbing the waste we generate, especially our carbon from burning fossil fuels.
There are a lot of ways in which countries can reduce their ecological footprint. However, this will be dependent on certain factors such as money, climate or population. This is why it is crucial for countries to help each other and work through reducing the overall ecological footprint of the planet. Although a country may have an abundant amount of resources and power to reduce their ecological footprint, they will still be vulnerable to climate change if other countries are not supported in their part to reduce their ecological footprint. The truth of the matter is, we have to work together because we share the same planet. The failure of one to play their part can affect everyone. COP26 is an example of countries’ efforts to work together and fight climate change.
Governments need to work on improving services that help reduce the ecological footprint of the region. This will encourage the people to change their behavior and support these services. An example of which would be transportation. Governments need to work on making public transports more clean, accessible and affordable. If the public transportation is good, people are more likely to choose it over using their private vehicles. This will then reduce air pollution and reduce the region’s ecological footprint. Another way would be to increase the amount of trash recycled. If recycling bins are readily available, located in close proximity to wherever people are, they will be more likely to recycle their trash. Lastly, the quality of the tap water also plays a great role in reducing the region’s ecological footprint. If the tap water is clean and safe to be used and consumed, people will not buy bottled waters as often. This will effectively reduce waste generation. There are still a lot of ways in which governments can help reduce their ecological footprint, but it is up to the leaders if they are determined to make a positive change and fight global warming.
You do not have to be the one implementing the laws, allocating the funds or the scientist studying the cause and effects. Everyone has the responsibility and power to protect the Earth from climate change. It all starts with educating ourselves. We cannot help tackle the issue if we have limited knowledge about it. Nowadays, information is readily available to us, so we need to use this to our advantage and start researching about climate change through podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, news articles and many more. We can even use our social media platforms to raise awareness about climate change and educate our followers about what is happening to our planet. We can then follow through with making more eco-friendly decisions as we go about our day.
Another way in which we can reduce our ecological footprint is being mindful of our diet. Did you know that globally, the food that we consume is responsible for almost a third of the annual planet-warming greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions? During the production, processing and transportation of our food, we are not only producing GHG emissions but there is also a high level of energy and water consumption. Some of the food that has a shorter-shelf life will need to be transported by air which significantly increases the environmental impact. Although we cannot eliminate the environmental impacts completely, there are a lot of ways we can go about reducing it. For instance, we can choose to buy food items that are produced locally so that the transportation distance is shorter and in turn, there is less harm to the environment. Another way would be to support products from countries that use cleaner and renewable sources of electricity reducing GHG emissions at the food production and processing stages.
Recycling is another popular way to reduce our ecological footprint. However, not everyone is educated on the right way to do so. In Singapore, about 40% of what we place in the blue recycling bins are not suitable for recycling. We need to be mindful of what we place in these recycling bins and make sure that they are clean. Some people place items that are either contaminated with food and liquids which are no longer recyclable. There are also others who do not read the labels and throw in materials that cannot be recycled at all. The next time you are planning to recycle your trash make sure that they are clean from any food or liquid and you read the labels of the recycling bins as to what can be thrown. A great practice to do in your household will be to segregate your trash before hand to glass, paper, plastic or metal so that it is easier to throw them in their respective recycling bins.
“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.” – Greta Thunberg
When you are scrolling through your phone and doing online shopping, it is very convenient to just click on an item, and it will be delivered after a few days to your doorstep. However, do you ever pause for a moment and ask yourself how much damage that decision has caused the planet? Imagine the number of people who mindlessly purchase items, neglecting the thought of reducing their ecological footprint.
So how do you actually make more sustainable decisions while still enjoying quality products for your daily needs? You need to choose more sustainable brands. Coco Veda has formulated products to help consumers reduce their ecological footprints. Our products are waterless which means that they are very concentrated. This will reduce waste generation as the products will last longer. Other than that, the packaging of our products are reusable, refillable and recyclable. We also do not use any machinery as all of our products are handcrafted, reducing any forms of air pollution to the environment.
This coming 2022, let us all work together to help our planet. There are no efforts too small or insignificant because the combined efforts of everyone will make that much of a difference. We all need to wake up and realize that this is the only planet we have. We need to leave our selfish ways of living and think back at the amount of harm we have caused the Earth. If you get out for a hike, go for a dive or simply just sit on a beach and admire the sunset, you will realize how much beauty lies on our planet. Who are we to cause destruction to this marvelous creation?