Reducing ecological footprint

The world population has constantly relied on the power of shared actions and in many ways underestimated the power of individual effort to solve the environmental problems. We have always sat behind waiting for someone to start working so that we can lend our hands. But we are running out of time. We have already reached many Earth overshoot days till date which marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. Human population is growing exponentially and resources are depleting.

It is high time we realised the intensity of individual actions. Thanks to William Rees who made the idea of making a huge impact more accessible to individuals by coining the term “ecological footprint”. The ecological footprint is a hypothetical area of land required by a society, group or individual to fulfil all their resource needs and assimilation of wastes. The idea of ecological footprint distils as an invaluable tool to measure and track the impact of our efforts to remediate climate change, both in terms of the pressure we put on nature and of the capability of the planet to provide for these demands. This tool can be used to inform policymakers by examining to what extent a nation can and should manage the national resources and to aware individuals on how to change the lifestyle that would lead to a sustainable future.

Nepal is gradually heading towards the path of development, which requires the use of extensive resources. Therefore, it is significant to ensure that we achieve an efficient society with low ecological footprint.

The developmental activities should encompass the role of technological advancement and formulation of environmentally friendly policy so as to shift towards a resource efficient and sustainable economy. Likewise, there should be an acknowledgement of the challenges that are invited by high consumption lifestyles and awareness of the potential individual efforts towards achieving a sustainable society.

This can be achieved through good governance and policies at national level and changing the consumption patterns and lifestyles towards more sustainable alternatives at the individual level. Recycling and reusing resources, consuming locally produced goods, consuming cleaner and renewable energy, choosing biking and public transport over private ones are some of the measures that can be opted at an individual level to reduce the ecological footprint.