Florida is a great place to live, work and play. There are many scenic areas to explore and Pinellas County has many parks and preserves to get in touch with nature. Living a green lifestyle supports the environment, is critical to preserving our economy, and provides positive health benefits. Overall, a sustainable lifestyle supports our economy, environment and our communities.
Your ecological footprint can calculate how your lifestyle impacts the natural resources available to sustain life. Your footprint is based on how you live: the size of your home, energy used, how you travel, the food you eat and the waste you create. Your footprint is broken down into four categories: carbon (home energy use and transportation), food, housing, and goods and services. Some changes to reduce your footprint will be easy and make common sense (save money) and others will require improved technologies like alternative fuels and renewable energy. Our ability to reduce our footprint will rely on our will to be innovative and create a more sustainable future for the next generation. If you would like to calculate your own footprint, there are on-line calculators available that also offer alternatives for shrinking your footprint.
To help you reduce your ecological footprint, use a “good and better” approach and don’t feel daunted by the process. It is never an all or nothing plan when we are trying to do a better job and reduce our impacts. Pick a practice that works for you and don’t feel discouraged. Pick small changes and when they get easy you might be ready for the next level. Each small step is a great effort and it is the small steps that add up to big impacts for us all.
Here are some examples:
- Good – Recycle plastic, paper and aluminum cans
- Better -Follow the ABC’s of recycling and hazardous waste
- Good – Reduce the amount of toxic cleaners in your home (Danger /Warning labels)
- Better – Use alternative, non-toxic cleaners like vinegar and baking soda
- Good – Put your computer and other equipment into power save mode when not in use
- Better – Shut down electronic equipment at the power strip to stop any energy use (phantom power)
Learning small ways to preserve our natural resources and live a green lifestyle is fun and you can save money too!
UF/IFAS Living Green http://livinggreen.ifas.ufl.edu/
Ecological Footprint Calculator www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator