Ouch.

After filling out that fun survey, I am embarrassed to say my ecological footprint is 13.85 Hectares!

Jesus, that is a lot compared to the other ones I’ve been seeing in our class. The class average was roughly around 8 hectares.

Kimi had 16.45, Elaine  7.45, Jerome with  8.35, and Yoonha with  7.35, my footprint seems to be on the higher end of the scale in our class.

I even did not think about the “Vacation home” thing, as we do own a house back in South Korea, but as we let people pay rent and live in the home, I thought it doesn’t count. So I did not count that in, but if I did, that would make my footprint even larger. Not good.

I could’ve sworn I didn’t add that many points up…So I went back to by booklet and took a more closer look at what was so drastically increasing my footprint. Here are the main things:

1. I shower way too long. My bath is always full.

2. Most of my clothes were all purchased new by or for me.

3. My garbage from one day would probably fit a basket, but not fit a shoe box.

4I usually spend time on the family car for transportation.

5. Our family owns only SUV’s, which are apparently considered large cars.

6. I do not specifically go searching for organic meat.

7. My family consumes meat on a daily basis.

8. I do not wear half the clothes I own.

9. Our family’s home is larger than what we would need to survive.

10. I spend 1/2~1 hour in a vehicle every day. 

The biggest room in the world is room for improvement. Here are some of the things I can do to bring that hectare count down a notch:

  1. Stop taking such long showers.

Unfortunately I get lost in thought in showers frequently. Literally standing there doing nothing, a whooping 30 mins has gone by. My showers are 25 mins on average. I can get lost in thought somewhere else. My bath is deep enough and large enough for it to not be completely full all the time; I can definitely try to go for a 3/4 full bath, and then maybe even 1/2 full if it works out. Or even, when I’m shampooing and not needing the water, I can turn it off and then turn the water on again when I need it to conserve the water in all ways possible!

2. Start wearing some of the clothes that are forsaken at the back of the drawer, at the end of the closet.

As I mentioned above I do not wear around half of the clothes I actually own. Although it may be out of style or not as nice anymore, I can wear it in the home or anywhere else that’s not going to be public. Wearing it and making a use of the clothes will lower my footprint a bit. I will also donate clothes that are still not being worn.

3. BUY LESS CLOTHES

Every single time I go to the mall, I always end up with a shirt or two in my hand when I walk home. NOT GOOD. I already have enough clothes anyway, I’ll disable my debit card or just not go into clothing stores. A good goal would be no more than five items of clothing to buy in a month.

4. Walk the distances I can!

I always find myself conflicted on whether to take or not take the bus. Although it may be walking distance, I get lazy and usually end up taking the bus to save a few minutes.

From now on! I will walk the distances that are reasonable to walk given that I have enough time and the weather isn’t terrible!

Get off of vehicles whenever I can!

5. Use containers. Reduce that garbage.

My garbage consists mostly of disposable containers or packaging. If I pack food and pack my items into reusable containers, For sure I can fit my garbage from a day in a shoe box.

The reflection:

From a week of attempting to do the things listed above, I’ll say it wasn’t easy.

I did reduce my shower rate to around 15 mins, but that still gives the same hectare amount and does not reduce my ecological footprint. I turned off the water when I did not need it, but I still have a long way to go.

I started to wear the clothes that I haven’t touched in months. I found outfit ideas and ways to wear different clothes so I can make the best out of what I own! I can say for sure that was successful.

In the past week of trying to reduce my footprint I visited the mall three times. Extremely proud to say I did not spend a single dollar on clothing. Huge improvement.

I walked every distance I could. I was at a restaurant with my friend and had to walk back to the school, but I chose 20 mins of walking over 10 mins of taking transit. Healthier for me and better for the environment, and save money too!

I used zero paper bags or any sort of packaging that I did not need. I used tupperwares and my rubbermaid bottles and containers for all food, and I did the best I could to avoid excess garbage. I actually had a shoebox to try and fit one day’s worth of garbage. It fit perfectly with a little bit of room left. I plan to continue with this.

Overall, I learned all the differences I can make in just a week! If I continue with the small improvments I’m sure I can bring down my footprint to the class average.