GEOG1200 Assignment 1
Based on my lifestyle, the calculator reveals that I have anecological footprint of 6.1 global hectares. This level is relativelylower than the Calgary average of 8.6 but still way higher than thenCanadian average of 5.8 global hectares (fig. 1). This scoreindicates that I have a lot of work ahead in cutting down myecological footprint to acceptable standards. My greatest source ofthe print emanates from services consumed with goods purchasedcontributing the least. However, I am worried that the productsconsumed will increase dramatically once I settle down and have afamily or when I start earning more.
I am somehow embarrassed to acknowledge that my spending patterns aresubject to my income levels. I feel guilty and sad about this kind ofliving. I consider myself an environmentalist though I do not lead aminimalist lifestyle. I am even surprised that my lifestyle is wayabove the Canadian average is the use of global hectares. I need tochange some aspects of my life to cut down my ecological footprint.In the short term, I will reduce my consumption of animal-sourcedproducts. I believe that these goods have a huge toll on theenvironment and require more resources and land area to produce them.I will also travel less or use public means and buy locally sourcedfoods. In the long run, I plan to overhaul my housing and energyneeds. I might even consider investing in a small wind-power projectfor use at home.
Figure1First environmental footprint test score (Footprint calculator(2017)).
By factoring my immediate plans to change my lifestyle, my ecologicalfootprint score reduced to the Canadian average of 5.8 globalhectares (fig. 2). While this drop is impressive, I reckon that itwill take more sacrifice and commitment to keep pushing the scorelower. Nonetheless, I will do it knowing very well that I will beplaying my role in conserving life on earth. Hopefully, I will alsofeel better as a person.
Figure2 Revised environmental footprint test score (Footprint calculator(2017)).
Although developing countries create relatively smaller ecologicalfootprints, they bear the worst of environmental degradation. Thesecountries face frequent droughts severe droughts and new diseasessuch as Ebola. The push for industrialization has seen developingcountries increase their environmental footprint. This trendthreatens to escalate environmental depletion even further riskinglife here on earth. However, it would be hypocritical and unfair fordeveloped nations to discourage or prevent third world countries toexploit the environment to advance themselves. Alternatively, firstworld countries should employ their knowledge and technologicalresources to enable the third world countries to progress in asustainable manner while still taking care of the environment. Thisapproach ensures that the onus of conserving the environment and lifeon earth falls to both parties. Again, advanced countries are alsotasked with protecting human dignity by supporting developingcountries to improve the standards of living for their people insustainable ways. Tools such as the ecological footprint calculatorprovide valuable information of how to enjoy development in asustainable way. For example, access to electric power in some thirdworld countries remains relatively low, and it is the responsibilityof developed countries to help them access sustainable power.Hopefully, developed countries have learned from their past mistakesin regards to pollution and environmental degradation. Thus, theyought to nurture developing countries and even offer incentives topursuing sustainable development for mutual benefit.
The climate change debate currently dominates global politics. Canadaplays an integral role in this discussion as one of the developedcountries and a major exporter of petroleum. The different levels ofgovernment in Canada and private organizations now make policies anddecisions informed by environmental conservation concerns. Recently,Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed his government`s commitmentto fighting climate change by cutting down on the production of oilsands as covered in an article in The Globe and Mail. The piecetitled "Trudeau`s oil sands ‘phase-out` comments spark angerin Alberta" and authored by Shawn McCarthy and Kelly Cryderman(2017) captures the dilemma of fighting climate change. Ideally,there are economic and social consequences of adjusting lifestylesand ways of doing things to be friendlier to the environment.Apparently, the country is facing a dilemma. On one side, there is aneed to expand the oil industry in Alberta as it provides employmentand supports the local economy. On the other side is the need to cutback production of fossil fuel as a major contributor to greenhousegasses. When the Prime Minister announced the plan to phase out ofoil sands, the Albertan people openly condemned the move noting thatit would affect their lives adversely. At the same time, the PrimeMinister`s promise to phase out petroleum came soon after approvingthe expansion of oil pipelines that would increase oil exports byabout a million barrels per day. Again, the Prime Minister hasproposed new carbon taxes to support the economy and simultaneouslycut down over-dependence on oil. Thus, environmental conservation isa tricky issue that requires a balanced approach. A balanced approachis likely to receive support from the people and privateorganizations and thus enhance results.
FootprintCalculator. (2017). Retrieved from
McCarthy, S. &Cryderman, K. (Jan 13 2017). Trudeau’s oil sands ‘phase-out’comments spark
anger in Alberta.The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from