August 7, 2008

Global Footprint Network’s Calculator: from Fantasy to Reality in 10 Minutes

A friend just sent me Global Footprint Network’s ecological footprint calculator, built in partnership with Free Range Studios. I’m a fan of Free Range’s work, so was excited to take a quiz. Now I haven’t played a video game since ColecoVision in the 80’s, so my first surprise was that I’d have to pick an avatar, something I thought was confined to things like Second Life. But I got to have the red hair that I always wanted.  However, the fun quickly ended, when at the end of the quiz I received my results, and there was the sentence, “if everyone lived like you, we’d need 3.6 Planet Earths to provide enough resources.” 3.6?! I thought maybe I’d get 1.5 or even 2, but over 3? I was quickly brought back to reality.

While I think that the site could use some improvement, for instance almost half of my footprint came from “Services” but I couldn’t quite tell how that section was calculated so that I could improve there, it is an easy way to see the various aspects of our lives that contribute to how we tread on the earth.

Other resources on the site include a worldwide look at humanity’s footprint from 1961-2003 and individual country trends.  


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