World's Fair

It’s the Ecological Footprint Quiz. Yeah! If you’ve never taken it, give it a whirl. About a 3 minute process. My test results: If everyone lived like me, we would need 3.7 earths to get by.

Some background on Ecological Footprints, you ask? Here and here. And, for the faint of link clicking, two summaries:

About the quiz: “The quiz is based on national consumption averages and is meant to give you an idea of your Ecological Footprint relative to other people in the country you live in. It is not highly detailed, but should give most people an idea of where they stand.”

About EF itself: “Ecological Footprint (EF) was created by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel in the mid 1990s as an indicator of the sustainability of the human economy. It is a means of gauging humanity’s impact upon the natural environment, a standardized measure of the consumption of renewable resources (or equivalents)” (from here).

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(Hi Little Prince! Of all the Exupery’s we know, Antoine de Saint-Exupery is the finest!)


I’m supposed to only pay attention to this quiz on Earth Day. Like Poetry Month or Women’s Month or Black History Month, I’m not supposed to go outside my officially warranted, publicly sanctioned time to pay attention to issues that Hallmark has considerately provided a greeting card for. So every year, I send around this link to my students. But here I am, in late September, offering it up again. How very droll.

How’d you do?
Dave, what about you at least?

Comments

  1. #1 Andrew Dodds
    September 28, 2006

    Well, terraform Mars and Venus and we’re there for me.

    (Although I am quite skeptical that 3 billion people could
    live the same lifestyle as me with current technology..)

    CATEGORY GLOBAL HECTARES

    FOOD 1.5

    MOBILITY 0.4

    SHELTER 1

    GOODS/SERVICES 0.8

    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 3.7

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 5.3 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.1 PLANETS.

  2. #2 David Ng
    September 28, 2006

    (Dammit. Need to do better)

    CATEGORY GLOBAL HECTARES

    FOOD 3.3
    MOBILITY 0.3
    SHELTER 0.5
    GOODS/SERVICES 0.8

    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 4.9

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 8.8 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.7 PLANETS.

  3. #3 BRC
    September 28, 2006

    I should put my digits in here too. Looks like I’m taking a huge hit on “mobility,” relative to the two other answers above, though I don’t know what I’m doing with “goods and services” that ramps up my figure so much. Guess it also shows what’s up with the American versus non-American comparison — I pin the mobility # on that.

    CATEGORY ACRES
    FOOD 3.2
    MOBILITY 1.5
    SHELTER 4.4
    GOODS/SERVICES 4
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 13

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.

    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.9 PLANETS.

    (Also, I don’t know why I wrote “3.7″ above, since I thought I entered all the same answers to do it again, but now get “2.9″. Must be sub-conscious guilt-sway on my answers.)

  4. #4 David Ng
    September 28, 2006

    The display using different units is also making a person have to concentrate just a little more to draw comparisons.

  5. #5 Michele
    September 28, 2006

    I thought I would’ve done better than I did. I either walk or take public transportation, all my appliances in my condo are energy efficient, it is well insulated, I recycle everything the recycler takes (plastic, glass, paper, food) but it still takes 2.9 planets to sustain my lifestyle.

    CATEGORY ACRES

    FOOD 2.7
    MOBILITY 0.7
    SHELTER 5.4
    GOODS/SERVICES 4.2
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 13

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.

    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.9 PLANETS.

  6. #6 Karmen
    September 28, 2006

    I’m a little ashamed. It looks like I focus on transportation/energy and ignore the rest. But…but… I love meat!! Anyways, since everyone else is cut and pasting:

    CATEGORY ACRES
    FOOD 5.4
    MOBILITY 0.2
    SHELTER 4.9
    GOODS/SERVICES 4.7
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 15

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.
    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.
    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 3.4 PLANETS.

  7. #7 Julie Stahlhut
    September 28, 2006

    I scored a 2.8. I suspect that my food footprint might have been artificially shrunk, though, from my interpreting “packaged, processed, and from far away” as meaning “all three”. We eat quite a lot of fresh or locally packaged food, and probably quite a bit less processed food than most, but I was counting “packaged but neither processed nor from far away” as a “no” rather than a “yes”.

  8. #8 Davis
    September 29, 2006

    Apparently flying across the country a few times a year is sufficient to knock my mobility up, in spite of my using cycling for pretty much all my other transportation needs.

    FOOD 2.5
    MOBILITY 1.7
    SHELTER 4
    GOODS/SERVICES 4
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 12

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.7 PLANETS.

  9. #9 Jody
    September 29, 2006

    CATEGORY ACRES

    FOOD 2.5

    MOBILITY 1.5

    SHELTER 4.2

    GOODS/SERVICES 4

    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 12

    IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.

    WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.

    IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 2.7 PLANETS.

    I guess not driving anywhere makes up for the few airplane rides every year. I’m a little surprised by the housing one; it’s just the third floor of someone’s house, and it feels so tiny…maybe we’re doing better than we thought. The disappointing aspect of that is the housing is probably the one thing I have the least control over. If I owned the place, there might be some things I could do (for energy efficiency etc), but as it is I feel a bit stumped.

  10. #10 David NG
    September 29, 2006

    I think the main point behind the EF is to realize that something needs to be done. This presumably would include things like nuclear power, a cultural shift for everyone to consume less. For example, I’d imagine a person who lives in a hot place, can walk to work, eats local food choices would be approaching the magic 1 earth value.

    The other striking realization is that who compensates for even us well meaning folk going over the scale? The other half of the world’s population who subsist on less than $2 a day – that’s who.

  11. #11 Michael M.
    October 3, 2006

    FOOD 4.7
    MOBILITY 0.2
    SHELTER 2.7
    GOODS/SERVICES 2
    TOTAL FOOTPRINT 10

    2.2 planets for me and everyone like me. Sounds doable!! I don’t know how I could bring down the food score. I answered “half” to the food question, but if anything, that’s low-balling it. I do try to buy most of my produce from the excellent farmers’ markets around town, but still I just don’t see how one can avoid eating a lot of prepackaged, imported food, unless one is rich or lives on a sizeable and fertile parcel of land. Locally made fresh pasta is a nice treat, but the boxed pasta at the supermarket is a lot cheaper.

    The fact of the matter is that if everybody tried to eat food produced no more than 200 miles away from where they live, we couldn’t possibly sustain the population we have. And many of us would have a lot less variety in our diets. Oranges don’t grow within 200 miles of here, so I’m not supposed to eat them? I don’t think the problem is that we eat food imported from elsewhere, the problem is the methods of distribution.

  12. #12 loan
    April 25, 2012

    Houses and cars are expensive and not everybody can buy it. Nevertheless, credit loans are invented to support different people in such hard situations.