When we talk about sustainability, various parts of our day-to-day life are directly related to our impact on the environment: the amount of waste we generate, the energy we consume, air and water pollution, etc. Looking at these examples, can we have an exact idea of the marks we leave on the planet?
Calculating our water, electricity, fuel or public transportation expenses is something we can easily do, however, how do we measure the impact our consumption habits actually cause to the environment?
In order to make our impact more visible, the “Ecological Footprint” was created. As the name implies, it’s a calculation that was designed to determine the size of the “footprint” that each person or organization leaves on the planet. The result of this calculation is expressed in “Global Hectares” (gha), and shows the global territory size that someone uses to sustain himself through the natural resources that are consumed.
Ecological footprint components
The components used to calculate the ecological footprint are: carbon, croplands, pastures, forests, constructed areas and fish stocks.
The first information that the calculation takes into account is the person’s location, since countries that use non-renewable forms of energy excessively, such as coal, will have a much greater impact on the environment than countries that invest in renewable energy, like solar.
Other important information is the size of the family living in the same home since it’s possible to estimate the residence’s overall consumption and consumption per person.
The average fuel consumption of your car is another very important point, because the higher the consumption, the higher the carbon dioxide emission into the environment.
How to calculate your ecological footprint?
On the Global Footprint Network website, click on the map of Brazil and you’ll have access to a calculator that allows you to see the size of your ecological footprint. It’s an interesting exercise that lets you evaluate the impact that your habits cause on the planet.
How to reduce your ecological footprint?
There are several actions that you can take to reduce your ecological footprint and we’ve listed some of them below:
Conscious consumption – remember that exchanging a durable device, like a mobile phone, every 3 months, just because a new model came out, is an important impact factor to increasing the ecological footprint. The amount of resources used to produce the new device is significant and if we control the consumption of the final product, we help rationalize resources consumed in its production.
Energy savings – energy is a precious asset, and if we can reduce consumption in our day-to-day we’ll be not only saving money but also helping the planet. This point is important because contractors may have an even greater impact, by helping their customers in choosing lower consumption appliances, a benefit for everyone.
Waste recycling – this is a simple process which everyone can adopt at home, making the separation of waste suitable for recycling. We also suggest that you use creativity, reusing glass and plastic objects whenever possible in your home or in your shop to store objects, liquids or even turn them into decorative objects.
Let’s do our part by reducing our ecological footprint and making our planet a better place. In your store or refrigeration workshop identify practical actions you can take, such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs or LED, periodically reviewing service cars to prevent issues that increase fuel consumption along with training the team so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to environmental awareness.