Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Our Ecological Footprint

Giorgio, my awesome virtual running friend,  got me thinking when he posted The Earth has another three billion years
 We, people who live in the Northern emisphere of the world, have taken everything for granted, particularly fuels, commodities, environment and that sort of things. Anyway, I am reasonably optimistic although we have got to be careful: the ecological footprint of nations shows that humans are horribly depleting the world, but I think there's an optimistic future!
 What do I do for the environment? What is my footprint?

People say that running is a low impact on the environment because all we need are our running shoes and out the door blazing trails we go.  But what about the rubber from the shoes?  Especially if the shoes go to a landfill?  What about the people that travel for races on planes, trains and automobiles?  What is the footprint impact on that?  I'm not saying we shouldn't go run races because then we aren't creating experiences.  What's the balance?

Cigarette butt next to a pond

If everyone does something to make our earth better those little things add up.  I think it's being conscious also and trying to make better choices.

Here are some things that I do to have a positive impact on the environment.

  1. I donate my used shoes to goodwill or better yet Soles4Shoes, who ships them to countries where they can't afford shoes. Imagine our throw away items gives someone a better life.
  2. I've stopped buying small bottles of water for parties.  At home we use water filtered from the fridge but would buy the individual bottles for a party. Now I buy a gallons of water and put out cups with a sharpie so guests can refill their cups.
  3. If I have an cup of water that needs to be emptied, I dump it in the bushes outside of the kitchen instead of down the kitchen drain.
  4. I use the philosophy "if it's yellow, let it mellow.  If it's brown, flush it down."
  5. Our shower also has a tub spout so while waiting for the water to warm up, we fill up a bucket and then dump that into the pool or trees (yes, the pool takes up a lot of water and is something that kind-of clashes with sustainability but it was already at the house when we bought it.)
  6. John composts.  He picks up coffee from Starbucks and collects leaves from the neighbor.
  7. John set up 2 rain barrel collection systems in our backyard to collect rain water off the roof
  8. I'm attempting a garden and so far can grow eggplant, basil and lettuce too.
What do you do to help the environment and reduce your footprint?


Giorgio said...

This is really an excellent post, Christina! First of all, thank you for the kind mention.
Then, with regard to your question, "What do I do for the environment?", I have to answer with another question: are
running shoes considered waste among runners? Of course they don't!
I think that environmental awareness is developed enough among runners ... especially among runners who belong to our blogging community :)
Two years ago I asked the question above mentioned to some blogger friends and I discovered that
most runners use old running shoes for lots of stuff and don't throw away them as waste. Amy, from Leuven (Belgium), uses old pair of running shoes for hiking and Emmy Ann Horstkamp from Munich (Germany) usually donates her used running shoes to the recycle center.
Recycling old athletic shoes decreases the need for virgin rubber and other materials, decreasing the environmental impact of using new materials when building courts, tracks, fields and playgrounds.

Johann said...

Awesome post! I think about this very often and get very upset with people that just don't care. I was raised in a family that is super green and always taking care of nature. It's my way of life. I try to educate all around me but it can be very frustrating.