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Calculate Your Footprint

— by Chris Watson

There’s a lot of talk at the moment of “footprints” and how to reduce them. This has nothing to do with shoe size of course, but your ecological or carbon footprint.

There are many ways to visualise your footprint and all of them make it easier to see ways in which you can reduce yours. The “Happy Planet Index”, started back in 2006, is an index of human well-being and the ecological impact of supporting it. It has its detractors and some obvious flaws, but as an easily accessible and crude measure of how much of your share of the planet’s resources you are using, it is instructive. As an alternative to the standard measures of national well-being, GDP or HDI it is perhaps more useful for the individual. Remember; it isn’t a measure of happiness, but the ecological cost of the pursuit of happiness.

You can take the Happy Planet Index survey here. It’s a pretty short questionnaire and if you answer fairly honestly it should yield some interesting results. If you drive a car anywhere, or fly ever, you will find your impact is much larger than the majority of the world. Not to worry, the results of the survey will set out a bunch of steps you can take to reduce your footprint in different areas.

Every little helps!