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Friday Tidbit: Calculate Your Footprint

2 December 2011

I thought it would interesting to take a few minutes today and test out our footprints–our affect on the earth.  There are some great resources online for seeing how you do, comparing yourself to the rest of the world, and getting tips for improving how you affect the earth.

First up is a footprint quiz from  This quiz is comprehensive, looking at many different areas to see your impact on the earth.  While I scored well on a number of areas, particularly my housing impact and goods and services, my carbon footprint is not so good.  I like to travel and I drive quite a bit, both of which really contribute to carbon emissions.

Ecological Footprint Quiz by Redefining Progress

Click on the picture to take the quiz, and you can check out my results as well.  It’s crazy to think that if everyone on earth had my lifestyle we’d need over 6 earths to sustain them.  And I scored below average in a number of categories.  I’m feeling good now.

I’ve talked about water use and consumption quite a bit here on UTNT.  Water is used in almost everything we do in life.  It’s more than just washing our hands or going to the bathroom.  That’s where the Water Footprint Calculator comes in handy.  Take this quick quiz (by clicking on the picture), and you’ll be well on you way to lowering your footprint.

Taking the quiz, I learned my water consumption is much lower than average.  I already try to shower less, wash my clothes only when needed, and I really don’t eat a lot of meat (because I’m cheap), which is a huge contributor to water consumption.

There are a few ways that I could decrease my consumption though.  First of all, I need to work on taking shorter showers.  I love standing under really hot showers and always stay longer than necessary because of it.  I’m also hoping to work closer to where I live next quarter, which should decrease the amount I’m driving my car.

Did you take either quiz?  In what ways can you decrease your consumption and footprint?

  1. 2 December 2011 10:00 pm

    This was a really neat quiz. I had not seen any quizzes specifically for water consumption. I think it is such an import resource. We have a limited amount of freshwater and every organism relies on water. I got below average consumption, yay! I always try to be careful with my water consumption. I am vegetarian, so I had very low water consumption from meat products. If only more institutions like cafeterias in schools would feature one day a week that is meatless, it would be extremely helpful to the environment. While looking at the National Geographic website I found out that 1 pound dark chocolate takes over 1,000 gallons of water. This was the most surprising of them all. I was very knowledgable about the majority of other things, but chocolate wasn’t one of them. I guess it’s just another reason to have it in moderation!

    • 3 December 2011 11:22 am

      I didn’t know that about dark chocolate. Crazy!!

  2. Sarah permalink
    3 December 2011 10:05 am

    Before you get too excited about not eating meat, you should check out work done by Dr. Jude Capper at WSU. Her works shows that meat produced using conventional production practices in the US actually has the smallest carbon footprint, compared to all other methods of meat production throughout the US and around the world. 🙂 There was also a very interesting discussion about National Geographic’s depection of the US Beef industry last summer and beef production’s use of water. Something else for you to explore, in all your spare time. (I’m pretty sure you knew I’d comment when you got to a meat topic…)

    • 3 December 2011 11:22 am

      I’ll definitely check out that research. And don’t worry, I’m no where near becoming a vegetarian, just poor and cheap. I had been expecting your comment to come when I got there. 🙂 We just know each other too well.

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