Island living naturally makes us aware that land and resources are limited and must be used wisely. This perspective helps us to understand the reality of our planet – an island in space, containing the essentials that we need to survive. Our “ecological footprint” is our personal impact on this island home and on the planet. It represents all the land, water, and raw materials that go into our food/products/services, measured in terms of the amount of land needed to sustain our day-to-day lives. According to the Global Footprint Network (www.footprintnetwork.org), calculating ecological footprints will help motivate people to take actions toward “…a world where humanity lives within the means of one planet.” They report that mankind’s collective ecological footprint is currently 23% greater than the Earth’s renewal capacity, causing:
- Global warming
- Topsoil depletion
- Groundwater loss
- Habitat destruction and species extinction
- Petroleum, mineral, and ore depletion
- Deforestation and desertification
- Marine life/fishery collapse
What you can do:
Treading lightly on our islands and on the planet – leaving a small ecological footprint – will help create a sustainable world where our needs and the Earth’s ability to meet them are in balance. To measure your own ecological footprint, visit sustainable-economy.org or www.earthday.org and take the Ecological Footprint Quiz. Then take action to reduce your footprint! Cutting greenhouse gas emissions and use of energy, water, and resources are the most important steps you can take toward a sustainable Hawaii, and a healthy, balanced planet:
- #1 most important and impactful thing to do is reduce & essentially eliminate consumption of animal products by eating a plant-based, vegetarian diet.
- Purchase locally produced, organic items whenever possible.
- Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation instead of driving a car.
- Buy only what you need, making Earth-friendly choices. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Cut electricity consumption: unplug electronics and turn off lights or A/C when not being used; install compact fluorescent bulbs; support renewable energy.
- Conserve water by fixing drips and installing water-saving devices.