Some environmental reading led me to a web page—The Global Footprint Network—that calculates your ecological footprint from your answers to questions about how you live your life.
Go to the page and calculate yours if you want. I don’t know their assumptions or methods, so I can’t speak to its accuracy.
With neither shame nor pride, I present my results:
I seem to use less than many—little enough to leave plenty of nature for everyone else, though not if the population keeps growing.
When I calculate my ecological footprint including a few flights per year, which I’m not doing now but used to, it rises above 1.0 Earths per year.
I find lowering my impact improved my life, though I didn’t think it would at first. It reminds me of the John Lennon song: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” That is, I hope readers who want to pollute or emit less choose to.
For context, remember that for all of human history until the past few years, nobody used fossil fuels, plastic, etc. Many of them still learned to create happiness. If they could, any of us can.
Maybe we don’t need all the external things to make ourselves happy.
EDIT: I repeated the exercise with World Wildlife Federation’s online calculator. Here are its results:
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