My Ecological Footprint
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Earth is the only home we have. This is the only place that we can use, as a place to live. Our space exploration technology is not advanced enough to look for another planet, to inhabit. So why do we treat the nature, billions of living beings and resources of our only home as parasites? Why cannot we be an integral part of the Earth’s ecosystem? Human kind in general poses great threat to all other living creatures or useful resources on the planet because we have an outstanding brain. This is our only advantage if compared to other dominating predators in the wildlife. We are able to change our behavior and accommodate to the outside conditions to live. We are too smart to give our future into the hands of evolution. We evolve with revolutionary speed. Our inventions make life more comfortable and safer. For us, of course, because human is the master of the whole world, on and under the planet’s surface.
Well, this is the fact that we believe in from the very first moment of our conscious life. School gives us knowledge about things and processes around us. We learn to live in this world using our rules. Nevertheless, we are only guests here, on this planet. Billions of years before the humankind appeared, our planet Earth lived by the rules of nature based on harmony and evolution. Why can we change such states of things without any second thoughts? It is possible that this question will never appear in the minds of 95% of human population, but it really does not matter. We have changed the face of the planet drastically because we live like the owners and creators of everything around here, without any respect to the nature and resources that our mother Earth gave us without any conditions.
Living in harmony with the environment is the way to change the above-mentioned situation. Mindless consumption and overproduction lead to the inevitable – filling the planet with wastes. First thing to do for every individual on Earth is to change the personal ecological footprint. It means a lot of things to consider and do: consume less, recycle, change habits, and be more eco-friendly, and eco-thoughtful and, maybe, our planet will have the chance to provide next generations with the ability to see if these steps are correct. Thus, changing ecological footprint means saving the planet personally. In my case, it means the following: change the water consumption pattern; change recycling pattern; change the food consumption pattern, and change several habits in order to comply with eco-friendly ideas.
Water is the major and unique resource for the human beings to survive. Despite the fact that most of Earth’s surface is water (oceans), this resource is in danger of depletion because of the mindless consumption. Therefore, my decision was simple – it was necessary to reevaluate my own consumption of this resource. I performed the following changes: started to turn off water while brushing my teeth; while being in the shower when it is not needed; while washing dishes by hand. One or two dishes can be washed right after the meal – it is not necessary to waste liters of water in dish washing machine to do it later. I started to use detergents with less phosphorous and natural jasmine oils in order to decrease the water pollution.
In addition, I began to realize that washing my car every day is not the brightest idea – it should be washed not that often because of the water amount it takes. I realized that water from rain could be used for the variety of purposes, as well. This water can be used to pour on the lawn or use it for other “technical” needs. It also would be appropriate to collect most of the water I use in the house and install domestic filtering and water cleaning system in order to recycle it, but these are the plans for the future.
Water is not the only resource I used mindlessly. Recycling of wastes is one of the biggest issues today for the entire world. The humankind produces millions of tons of everything every day and most of these products are not eco-friendly, or it takes too much time to get decomposed for the most of them. It is mandatory for us, humans, to come to the production of recyclable everything we use in day-to-day activities. There are controversies, however, in the idea of recycling. The skeptics reasonably oppose that energy saved while manufacturing something from the recycled materials is used for the recycling process itself in the major cases. Sometimes it even takes more money and energy to recycle some kind of material then just to dispose it as a waste. The ecological effect is obvious and sad. However, consider this – what is the real cost of decreasing the landfills areas? Moreover, this cost is the pollution from recycling factories and different secondary wastes like, for example, pipe exhausts from the vehicles delivering wastes to the factory.
Yes, of course, aluminum production, for example, from used cans or other scrap saves up to 95% of energy in case it is done from its virgin source. Nevertheless, this is rather an exception than a rule. Yes, we do save some percentage of forests from cutting for paper and other products, for example. However, here is the paradox. Consumers of paper raw material will not worry about planting new trees because it is easier and cheaper to purchase recycled material. How will the new trees and forest reappear? What are the benefits of recycling for the nature in this case?
Another obstacle for recycling popularization is banal cost of the whole process. The governments that support “green” programs on the governmental level meet misunderstanding of the masses. It costs substantial sums of budget money to provide educational programs into schools, to advertise the new approach for wastes management, etc. Special recycling bins require resources to be installed on the sidewalks, wastes sorting, and cleaning facilities requires working resources and salaries. Many other things to consider are involved into this very important but still too complicated process. Thus, people who are glad to help our planet to become cleaner have to pay money for utilization of electronics, cars and other used things. Such situation repulses too many people from doing such an important and necessary thing as wastes management.
On the other hand, it is necessary to start doing it anyway, so I have started. I sort wastes I produce by putting them to the special bags – plastic, paper, glass, natural wastes (from food, etc.), electronics (batteries, broken goods with electronics inside), and so on. Another step was to deliver things that cannot be wasted to the places they are to be utilized. I am ready to pay money for utilizing, so it is not a problem for me to pay a couple of dollars to make our world cleaner. In addition, I do not throw out my clothes anymore and do not buy so many new things. I decided to give clothes and footwear I do not need to the shelters and programs of helping homeless and people who really need it. Vintage clothes, by the way, are not that bad in case of everyday use for the variety of purposes.
I started to cook. Self-catering is one of the wonderful ways to decrease money and resources’ waste. I can control the ingredients used in my food, so it is also beneficial for my health. In addition, takeout food takes too many packaging material to be used every single time I use this service so it would be reckless to keep using takeout food services and consider myself an eco-friendly person. Most of packages I try to use are recyclable and made from organic material so they could be recycled easily. My freezer now contains exactly the amount of food that I need to have for a couple of days – not more, not less. It also helped me to solve my nutrition dilemma. Cooking is a great way to organize one’s own schedule and diet, and gain better shape, to be noted.
Electricity, being the main power source for everything we use every day, became the next thing to reconsider in terms of usage. Now I do as follows: turn off all the lights I do not currently need in the house; unplug all devices that should not be plugged in to function (chargers for mobile electronics, for example); change all bulbs to eco-friendly analogs; purchase appliances with solar panels that are available on the market; replace all appliances for the newer models with less consumption of electricity (freezer, washing machines, TV, etc.); try to use air conditioning, not that extensively, and heaters (when they are necessary) are used more optimally.
I have changed my habits to become eco-friendly and leave a positive ecological footprint for my ancestors and all people living on Earth. It is utterly important for each person on the planet to think about the environment as a friend and partner but not as a commodity to be mindlessly exploited.
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