My Ecological Footprint

Use our questionnaire to work out your ecological footprint and then think about how you can reduce it

Instructions

What is an ecological footprint? And how big is yours? Can you figure out your ecological shoe size and how to reduce it? What effect do your lifestyle and the daily actions of you and your household have on our ecosystem?

What is an Ecological Footprint?

An ecological footprint estimates the area of land and ocean required to support one person’s consumption of food, goods, services, housing and energy and assimilate one person’s waste. The ecological footprint is expressed in ‘global hectares’, which are standardised units that take into account the differences in biological productivity of the different ecosystems that are impacted by your activities. The expression ‘carbon footprint’ is also used to express the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a person, organisation, event or product.

Questionnaire

For each question consider for yourself which answer you should give. Remember that this isn’t a test where there will be a best/worst person it is just to help gauge where changes can or cannot be made. If you aren’t sure what answers to give have a guess or take the average answer.

Go through the questions below and score your household accordingly. If you are working as a group and have a large space, you could steps forward to mark your answers and see where you all end up.

Housing:

1. How many people live in your household?

  • 1 = 30 points
  • 2 = 25 points
  • 3 = 20 points
  • 4 = 15 points
  • 5 or more = 10 point

2. How is your house heated?

  • Natural gas = 30 points
  • Electricity = 40 points
  • Oil = 50 points
  • Renewable energy (solar, wind) = 10 points

3. How many individual taps (in your kitchen, bathrooms and outside) and toilets do you have in your home?

  • Fewer than 3 = 5 points
  • 3-5 = 10 points
  • 6-8 = 15 points
  • 8-10 = 20 points
  • More than 10 = 25 points

4. What type of home do you live in?

  • Apartment/flat = 20 points
  • House = 40 points
Food:

5. How many of the meals you eat per week include meat or fish?

  • 0 = 0 points
  • 1-3 = 10 points
  • 4-6 = 20 points
  • 7-10 = 35 points
  • More than 10 = 50 points

6. How many meals do you eat per week prepared from fresh ingredients? (not ‘ready’ meals or frozen pizzas)

  • Under 10 = 25 points
  • 10-14 = 20 points
  • 14-18 = 15 points
  • More than 18 = 10 points

7. When purchasing your food does your family try to buy locally produced goods?

  • Yes = 25
  • No = 125
  • Sometimes = 50
  • Rarely = 100
  • Don’t know = 75
Transport:

8. If you or your household have a car what type is it?

  • No car = 0 points
  • Motorcycle = 15 points
  • Small compact = 35 points
  • Mid-sized = 60 points
  • Large = 75 points
  • Sports, 4 by 4 vehicle or mini van = 100 points
  • Pick up truck or full sized van =  130 points

9. How do you get to school/work?

  • Car = 50 points
  • Public transport = 25 points
  • School bus = 20 points
  • Walk = 0 points
  • Bicycle, scooter, skateboard = 0 points

10. Where did you go on holiday in the last year?

  • No holiday = 0 points
  • Own country, own region = 10 points
  • Own country, different region = 30 points
  • International = 40 points
  • Intercontinental = 70 points

11. How many weekend trips per year do you take by car or plane?

  • 0 = 0 points
  • 1-3 = 10 points
  • 4-6 = 20 points
  • 7-9 = 30 points
  • More than 9 = 40 points
Purchases:

12. How many large purchases (tablet, computer, car, TV etc.) has your household made in the last year?

  • 1-3 = 15 points
  • 4-6 = 30 points
  • More than 6 = 45 points

13. Has your household bought any energy efficient products in the past year instead of non- energy efficient (e.g. lightbulbs, fridges etc.)?

  • Yes = 0 points
  • No = 2.5 points
Waste:

14. Do you try to reduce the amount of waste you generate (e.g. buying fresh food without packaging, refusing junk flyers etc.)

  • Always = 0 points
  • Sometimes = 10 points
  • Rarely = 20 points
  • Never = 30 points

15. Does your household compost, or does your council. collect your food waste?

  • Always = 0 points
  • Sometimes = 10 points
  • Rarely = 15 points
  • Never = 20 points

16. Does your household recycle (paper, cans, jars, bottles etc.)?

  • Always = 0 points
  • Sometimes = 10 points
  • Rarely = 15 points
  • Never = 20 points

17. How many bags of rubbish does your household fill each week?

  • One half-full rubbish bag = 0 points
  • 1 bag = 10 points
  • 2 bags = 20 points
  • More than 2 bags = 30 points
Scoring:

Add up all your scores. from the questions above.

If your score is:

  • less than 150, your ecological footprint is smaller than 4 hectares
  • 150-350, your ecological footprint is between 4.0 hectares and 6.0 hectares
  • 350-550, your ecological footprint is between 6.0 hectares and 7.8 hectares
  • 550-750, your ecological footprint is between 7.8 hectares and 10 hectares
  • more than 750, your ecological footprint is greater than 10 hectares

Only 2.1 hectares per person are available on earth. If everyone in the world used more, we would need more than one earth to sustain us. At the moment, the average footprint in the UK and Canada is 6 hectares. In Austria 5, in Nicaragua 3 and in Sri Lanka 1.

Discussion questions

Which behaviour could you change and which not?

Why is it possible to change some activities and not others?

Is it a life choice or a necessity to reduce your footprint?

What would you be ready to give up or change?

Where could your score be with some changes?

Take it further

Come back to the questionnaire in 6 months or when you have implemented some changes and see if you have managed to reduce your footprint.

This activity was adapted from the Handbook for Action Against Climate Change from our partners at IFM-SEI.

If you enjoyed this activity then check out Compost Cake to create your own compost from your leftover food! This helps your plants to flourish and grow as well as helping to reduce your ecological footprint. Perhaps you could make a Mini Zine encouraging others to reduce their ecological footprint too and share it in your community.

 

Climate & Ecological Emergency

This is one of our collection of activities that will help you to better understand the climate and ecological crisis and our part in it, as well as supporting you to raise your voice in calling for action to be taken against it.

Activities & Resources

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