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April 17, 2006

Your Ecological Footprint?

I took this Earth Footprint quiz primarily to compare our lifestyle in the US with how we lived in Ukraine.

Our eco-footprint in Ukraine? 2.4
In Florida? 12

I think the Florida one might be a tad low, considering our water and electrical consumption. But the biggest factor in the difference, I believe, is due to transportation.

In Ukraine, we did not own a car. We primarily used public transportation. When the family went out all together, we'd take a taxi--seven people in a little sedan. I walked to the market or the grocery store, where I purchased mainly locally grown or processed foods. (Unlike most of our Ukrainian friends, I also indulged in imported items. Trust me, luxuries like boxed cereal and frozen veggies in winter were much appreciated there.)

Now, I don't have any destinations within walking distance, aside from the park. We have two vehicles, and put quite a lot of miles on them each week. We do have electrical conservation appliances and try to limit our AC use to when its really hot--but this is Florida, and it is hot a lot. In Ukraine, energy conservation bulbs and appliances were unavailable. And the heating/hot water system was woefully inefficient (even though for our apartment, we did enjoy the endless supply of hot water! Except when it was turned off in the summer. . .)

Anyway, I haven't looked through the whole site, and I'm prone to be skeptical of some of the things I've seen there. However, it's a good reminder to be mindful of our consumption and lifestyle habits, and how they impact the world and people around us.


(Via Suburban TreeHugger)

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Comments

we've been studying this in sunday school. the ecological footprint is a fabulous thing to keep in our mind, especially as Christians. Im amused because ours is much larger than we would like, and we say, well...we live in alaska, so it's unavoidable...

have you heard of Trek? its a study into enough. its the book we are using. they have one for kids too that im hoping to check out.

Posted by: meggan at April 17, 2006 02:22 PM

Tulipgirl,
How did you get such a low number in Ukraine? Wow. I took the test and came out with a 6.2. Altho our region is agricultural, most of the produce we buy actually comes from Turkey and Israel a large portion of the year. The only other thing that might be high is the air travel for us each year (and I estimated high). But most of the Ukrainians we know live like we do. I think the "test" is not correct in saying we live so much higher than they do. And with all of the new houses being built ALL over town, all of the remont going on ALL over town, and with all of the brand new cars being driven ALL over town ... well, somethings not right there! We live, in fact, much more simply than a good portion of the population!
Columbine

Posted by: coloradocolumbine at April 17, 2006 02:47 PM

I think I was realistic when I was answering the questions. . . But may have been off. Maybe we were lower than y'all because we had 6 people in a flat? And I estimated our air travel based on when we lived there--we didn't fly as much as I know y'all need to. And hmmmm. . . I guess I wasn't thinking about the produce coming from anywhere by the black soil of Ukraine. I'd probably score higher redoing it.

Posted by: TulipGirl at April 17, 2006 08:33 PM

Hey Tulipgirl - I've been reading your blog for awhile now and just have to comment. I love your style! Your interests and writing style are very appealing to me: I've thought that we might be cut from the same cloth. Many things that you've written really strikes a cord with me (Madeleine L'Engle...?? I love the way she uses the English language too!). I don't remember exactly how I found your blog, but I'm glad that I did. It's nice to waltz in for a peek now and then. Thanks for posting.

Ciao,
a. borealis

Posted by: a. borealis at April 17, 2006 10:27 PM

Oooh, interesting. We scored a 12 too. For the most part I don't see how we could get much lower. We could eat less meat, but that's about it. Out here we don't have public transportation, etc.

Posted by: Jenn at April 18, 2006 02:18 PM

i'm a 5.8, here in new zealand, and shocked at that result !! but we do have lotsa kids and so i'm always driving around with them.. maybe that alters the result a little?
food's our biggie, am about to dig over the garden and plant winter veggies...

Posted by: kate5kiwis at April 19, 2006 12:03 AM

We've thought alot about this since being in the states. We walked so much more in Africa and now we are driving 3-4 hours one way back to IL twice a month. Add that to the drive to grocery and I shouldn't turn on a light for the rest of my life to try to hold back the watts.

Posted by: A Moore at April 21, 2006 02:42 PM


 
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