Thursday, April 22, 2004

Earth Day: did you notice?

Earth Day, one small day set aside to think about the planet that sustains all life as we know it, is now just about over. Did you pause to consider your impact?

Go to this Redefining Progress site and calculate your ecological footprint. Find out, in terms of acres of land required, what it takes to support your lifestyle. I did the test and discovered that I require 12.1 acres of support. This is about 48% of the amount of acreage needed to support the average American citizen. In other words, Americans, on average, require around 26 acres per person. (For a sense of scale, consider that 43 square feet is about 1/100th of an acre).

Worldwide, the biologically productive space available per person is 5.4 acres.

The test also asks you how much land should be set aside for other species. I chose 50% to see what it would come out to. With that input, it would be necessary for each human to live off of 2.7 acres. In other words it would take 4.4 planet Earths to support us all at my present standard of living.

Food for thought, don't you think? If I've sparked your curiosity, go the website and try the test for yourself. See what factors contribute to the acreage rating. Think about how things could be different.

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