Your impact on the resources of planet Earth can be called your ‘eco footprint’. Unlike your footprint on a Seychelles beach, that is washed away by the tide, an eco footprint is a little longer lasting. It can be thought of as the area of land that is needed to produce all the things you need, including food, energy for travel, heating and cooking, etc. It includes the energy and materials needed to make all the things you own – including clothes, electrical goods, house, car etc. This area of land also needs to accommodate all your waste products.
You can reduce the size of your footprint if you use fewer things, use less energy and produce less waste. Simple things like buying food with less packaging, or recycling, or turning the tap off while brushing your teeth really can make a difference. Your eco footprint does not just cover Seychelles. Your actions have effects across the globe.
Take the footprint test. Answer these questions to see how you score.
1. What kind of transport do you use most often?
Walking 0 Public transport 10 Car 30 Cycling 0
Cars use up oil and produce carbon dioxide, which causes climate change. They also burn other gases and pollute the air. We should use alternatives to the car where possible.
2. How much water do you use?
Quick shower 0 Long shower 15 Deep bath 20 Shallow bath 10
3. How often do you wash your clothes?
Daily, whether they need it or not 10
Only when they need washing 0
4. Do you leave the water running when you clean your teeth?
Yes 5 No 0
It takes lots of resources to treat our drinking water and to bring it into our homes. Heating water also uses energy.
5. If you have a hole in your clothes do you:
Get them mended 0 Throw them away 10
Recycle them or give them to a charity 5
Lots of energy is used to make new clothes. You can reduce your ecological footprint by mending clothes or giving them to charity.
6. Do you use electric heating equipment?
Yes, always 10 Sometimes 5 Never 0
These use lots of energy. In Seychelles there is less need for heating appliances and clothes driers.
7. Is the food you eat grown locally?
All 0 Some 10 None 20
8. Do you have a compost heap at home or put your vegetable scraps in a compost bin?
Yes 0 No 10
Composting vegetable and fruit scraps means that less waste goes into rubbish sites. You also get free compost for your garden.
9. Does your food have packaging around it?
Lots 20 Some 10 None 0
It takes a lot of resources to make packaging. Packaging is often plastic, and is difficult to recycle. Reduce your footprint by buying food with less packaging.
10. Every day, would the amount of rubbish you throw in the bin fit into:
A bin liner 30 A shoebox 20 A cup 5
11. Do you recycle your rubbish?
Never 20 Sometimes 10 Usually 0
We are running out of places to bury our rubbish. We could burn rubbish, but the smoke can contains chemicals that are bad for our health. Recycling is a good way of reducing rubbish.
What did you score? ____________ points
The lower your score, the better. The higher your score, the bigger the eco-footprint you are making on Seychelles and the world. The worst possible score is 165. There just isn’t enough planet for too many footprints that big!