Where is my footprint?


How big is your footprint? And how sustainable is your footprint?

Your ‘footprint’ tells you how much space you are using on earth. (‘Space of earth’ meaning the part of the earth, where things can grow, so not the high mountains, the deserts etc).

Picture: Your ecological footprint

(natuurlijke bronnen = natural resources bossen = forests landbouw = agriculture tuinbouw = horticulture afval = garbage)

On average about 1,8 hectares are available for every person . You use it in the land on which the food you eat has grown, the space you actually use (house, school, roads), energy for cooking, moving, heating or cooling, and the garbage you produce. How sustainable your footprint is depends whether other people are suffering from it, and if nature is being destroyed –  which means possible problems in the future. (Chemicals that are not biodegradable, soil that is washed away, etc. These thing are unsustainable)

First we look how big your footprint is:

(It is not a scientific exact measure, it is meant to get some idea of the seize of footprints and the aspects of your life that are important for being sustainable)

NB This way of  measuring your footprint is not  interactive. – It is made for printing in Word and doing it on paper. Download the word-version

Read the questions.

After every question you see how many points this question gives you. Write down the points: the number after the questions you answer with a ‘yes’. Not every question will fit exactly with your daily life, just choose the answer nearest to your situation

  1. How big is your home plus garden?
    a. House with more than 4 bedrooms and a big garden (5)
    b. House with 3 or 4 rooms and small garden (4)
    c. Smaller house, or apartment, no garden (3)
  2. Energy and water consumption
    a. We have a washing machine and use it often (3)
    b. We have a tumble dryer (3)
    c. We have a dish washer (3)
    d. We have one or two computers at home (3)
    e. We have airco (3)
    e. We have a microwave (2)
    f. We have several small electric appliances (toaster, mixer, coffee machine etc) (2)
    f. We let many lights burn all evening (perhaps even outside) (7)
    g. We switch the lights off in rooms when we leave the room (2)
    h. We have central heating and turn it down in the night (4)
    i We  heat the house always – day and night – at about twenty degrees (Celsius) (6)
    j. I often take a bath or a long hot shower (5)
    k When I take a shower, I do it quickly (2)
  3. Transport
    a.I am taken to and from school every day by car (12)
    b.I always walk or bike to school(1)
    c. I go to school by bus (or train) (3)
    d. When our family goes somewhere by car, we are with at least 4 – 6 people in the car (5)
    e. When we go somewhere we are 2 people in the car (7)
    f. We have a big car (12)
    g. We have a small car (8)
    h.We have no car, when we go somewhere we use bus or train (4)
    i. When we have holiday we go always by train (4)
    j. Every year we fly somewhere in our holiday (12)
  4. Food
    a. We eat at home mostly organic*) or home grown food (5)
    b.We eat (practically) never organic food (10)
    c. I eat meat every day (12)
    d. I never eat meat (0)
    e. I eat meat a few times per week, not every day (4)
    f. I eat an egg every day (more than 4 per week) (2)
    g. I eat cheese every day (3)
    h. I drink every day half a litre of milk (or yoghurt or something like that) (3)
    i. We eat at home never processed food (from tins or frozen products etc) (0)
    j. We eat at home certainly two times a week frozen or tinned foods (4)
    k. We eat at home nearly every day frozen or tinned products (8)
    l. I eat every day sweets and/or snacks (3)
    m I eat practically never sweets and/or snacks (0) 

* Organic food is from organic farms, where they work without chemical pesticides etc. And the animals get their fodder from local production, not from the other side of the world.

5.  Clothing
      a. I buy every month two or more new clothes or shoes (10)
      b. I buy two or three times per year some new clothes or shoes(6)
      c. I practically never buy new clothes, I get them from my elder sister or brother, and/or buy second hand clothes (2)

6.  And more:
      a. We have a dog and/or cat (8)
      b. We have no pets, or only small ones like a hamster or guinea pig (0)
      c. We have many animals at home (like: several dogs and/or cats, or a pony) (12)
      d. We have some chickens, who mainly eat the rests from out kitchen – and give us some eggs too (0)
      e. I have in my room 3 or more electrical equipments (tv, computer, etc) and I use them often (10)

Now count your points Your Footprint in points: is…….

 Click here to find how big your footprint is – and – more important –  how to make it more sustainable (this is not your complete footprint but the number gives you some impression how big your footprint is) And click here to find out where your footprint is.