Step 1: Conduct a baseline assessment Your baseline sustainability assessment is based on the results of three calculators: ecological footprint calculator, OSU carbon calculator, and a water footprint calculator (links below). This first step of conducting a baseline assessment of current environmental, social, and economic impacts occurs at the start of any sustainability planning process. In this assignment, you will apply basic project planning skills to developing your personal plan for a minimal footprint.
Explore the data. Calculate your three footprints. Follow the links and go through all of the steps of the three footprint calculators. Save your results to include in your assessment.
- Ecological Footprint Calculator: https://www.footprintcalculator.org/ (Links to an external site.)
- OSU Carbon Footprint Calculator: https://myco2.sustainability.oregonstate.edu/#/ (Links to an external site.)
- Water Footprint Calculator: https://www.watercalculator.org/wfc2/q/household/ (Links to an external site.)
1. Display and analyze data to explain at least two findings for each calculator. Include data and visuals of your footprint results to illustrate your baseline assessment, such as pie charts and other displays of data. Critically analyze the results of your footprint calculations based on the context of your life and the main systems on which you depend (transportation, waste, energy, etc).
a. Ecological Footprint: Be sure to include the graphic showing your footprint by land type and consumption category, in addition to your overall footprint data
b. Carbon Footprint: Be sure to include the graphic showing your footprint by category compared to the US average (graph titled Results), in addition to your overall footprint data
c. Water Footprint: Be sure to include the graphic showing your Indoor, Outdoor and Virtual water footprints, in addition to your overall footprint data
Step 2: Reflect on your role within larger systems
Consider the following question and response embedded in the results page of the global footprint calculator.
“Why can’t I get my Footprint score within the means of one planet?”
“A person’s Ecological Footprint includes both personal and societal impacts. The Footprint associated with food, mobility, and goods is easier for you to directly influence through lifestyle choices. However, a person’s Footprint also includes societal impacts or “services,” such as government assistance, roads and infrastructure, public services, and the country’s military. All citizens are allocated their share of these societal impacts. This is why, if we want to achieve sustainability, we need to focus on both our own lifestyle as well as influencing our governments.”
It is important to reflect our role in the systems that we inhabit, including how those systems limit our choices and how we can create broader impacts within those systems.
a. Explain how your footprint is impacted by systems and factors outside of the direct control of your decision-making.
b. Consider social impacts and influences. Address how your social connections may impact your lifestyle choices. How have you been influenced by the people and social norms in your life? Do you feel knowledgeable and empowered to make sustainable change?
c. Consider your sphere of influence. How do you influence the people and systems in your life? Provide some concrete examples of how you can impact specific people or systems around you.
Step 3: Create a Personal Sustainability Action Plan. Establish goals and indicators to address your six key findings identified in step 1. Since the footprint assessments are focused primarily on the environmental dimension with a strong economic component, I would also like you to create two goals and indicators to address your impacts on the social dimension specifically.
Here you are to establish “S.M.A.R.T.” goals and indicators (use template attached below) to reduce your footprint. Establish S.M.A.R.T. goals to address the aspects of your lifestyle that are most impactful on the planet based on what you learned from the calculators. For each impact identified above, create SMART goals designed to reduce specific impacts identified in the calculators. SMART goals are defined as goals that are specific (S), measurable (M), achievable (A), results-focused (R), and time-bound (T).
For step 3 use the Create a Personal Sustainability Action Plan table (template), it is attached to the file.
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Please do the ecological footprint or water footprint