When I was in the environmental science course last term, we did an eco-footprint survey (it’s fun and you can click the link here to calculate your own eco-footprint). After finished the survey questions, the website would provided a list of suggestions to reduce our eco-footprint. And yes, we did that experiment for the whole term. As the suggestions listed, including “spend less time on shower”,”eat less meat”,”walking, bicycling or taking buses instead of driving” and etc.
At the end of the term, we reported our own individual experiment and did the survey again. There were a lot that we can do for reducing the eco-footprint, and seemed that they won’t be difficult. But how about keep doing these things every day? Or less, only three months of the term? To be honest, it is not easy.
When it is raining, which would you choose? Walking or driving? When it is extremely cold, which would you choose? To take a three minutes cold water shower or a ten minutes bath? To turn off all the heaters while leaving or let it keep working?
We all know the IPAT equation:
- Human Impact on the environment equals the product of Population, Affluence, and Technology. This shows how the population, affluence and technology produce an impact”
Recent years, the urban population is rapidly increasing. The rapid and worldwide urbanization of the human population raises concerns about the sustainability of cities(Andersson 2006). The tendency of increasing population is irreversible; to reduce the impact of the environment, we have to focus on the affluence and technology, and the target is our urban area. “Cities are causally linked to accelerating global ecological decline and are not by themselves sustainable. At the same time, cities and their inhabitants can play a major role in helping to achieve global sustainability.(Rees and Wackernagle, 2008) “ And that’s why we should more focus on urban sustainability.
It is hard to make a trade-off between individual need and environmental pressure. Especially in urban area: “money can buy anything”. For example, in the rainy days, I would prefer to pay for the taxi rather than walking by myself. It’s common in urban area: technology enriches our daily life and it’s difficult to really back to the era that without cars. We encourage people to take more public transportation, to walk more for health for many years, but the result of these movements is obvious: there is no significant reducing emission.
Human beings are developing and progressing. Technology is the best tool to achieve sustainability of the world, and it is also the most challenge of achieving sustainability. For example, we invented solar energy system, but it still has low energy-efficiency and only apply to very limited fields; we invented clean energy plants, but most developing countries are still using fossil fuel as their major energy resource. It’s hard to require people to give up convenience from technology, and because of this, the mission and challenge of our age is to promote the advanced technology that could improve environment and our life.
Andersson, Erik. “Urban Landscapes and Sustainable Cities.” (2012): n. pag. 2006. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.
“I =PAT.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.
“Learn about Your Ecological Footprint!” Islandwood Ecological Footprint Calculator. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.
Rees, Williams. “Urban Ecological Footprints: Why Cities Cannot Be Sustainable-and Why They Are a Key to Sustainability.” – Springer. N.p., 2008. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.