Filed under: Punya
I came across this interesting stat todayÃ¢â‚¬â€?if the whole world had a consumption rate equivalent to that of the US, then we would need four Earths to sustain that kind of consumption. That makes the future look very bleak, maybe not for us, but for our future generations. With population growth, and economies like India and China on the rise, there is no end in sight to our level of consumption.
Which brings us to the ecological footprint; we all leave one, in one way or the other. It could be because of our consumption or lack of it. Living in the US, I can see I am someone with a larger footprint, compared to say, someone in Africa. How can people in developed nations take steps to reduce this footprint, and people in developing nations become aware of this fact early on, before itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too late?
The way I see it, economic growth is proportional to level of consumption. LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take cars for example, if Honda was the only manufacturer of cars in the world, there is no competition for selling cars, it becomes a commodity, and consumption becomes a constant. Now add ten new manufacturers of cars, and suddenly there is competition, economic growth, more jobs, more consumers, and you end up having three cars, when all you needed was one. The way the world works now, there is nothing you can do to change that, the tussle between the Economist and the Environmentalist is going to go on for ever.
Then how can you reduce your ecological footprint, without having to wait for someone else to solve the problem for you? I say we start simple and implement the following steps:
- Identify three areas, in your day to day life, where you can reduce consumption
- For each of the three areas, figure out what actions you can take to reduce consumption
- Implement the actions from step 2 for six months
- After six months, reflect on the effects of this reduced consumption, and start all over from step one, adding three more areas to your list.
- Here are my three areas
a. Use of disposable utensils
b. Use of disposable napkins
c. Unnecessary printing of documents
- The action I am going to take to reduce consumption
a. Use silverware. Have a on the go silverware
b. Go old school, carry a handkerchief.
c. Only print if it has to be mailed, for all other purposes use the screen!
- The implementation goes into effect as of Today.