If everyone on the planet lived the same lifestyle as I do, we would need 2.5 planets and to support my lifestyle, it takes 4.4 global hectares of the Earths productive area. (World Wildlife Fund Australia, 2014) My ecological footprint was made up of food (30%), shelter (22%), mobility (5%), goods (21%) and services (23%). I currently live and rent in a free standing house. I easily spend over R500 a month on electricity due to a family of six living in the household. Just under half of my light fittings are energy efficient and five percent or less of my electricity comes from renewable sources. I drive far distances each week (between 270km to 410km per week and am rarely the only person in the car (three kids as passengers). I rarely ride any bike or walk to destinations; I never catch public transport and spend little time in air travel (0 to 4 hours per year). I was surprised at the impact of my diet, as I don’t eat meat. I do, however consume a pescatarian diet including fish (consumed once or twice a week) and animal products (consumed almost every day). Living in a high income country enables an abundant diet of processed, pre-packaged and non-local foods which accounts for about three quarters of my diet. The ongoing and to accelerating process of globalisation makes it easy for myself to engage in an abundance of goods and services. I often buy new clothes, toys, paper based products and other packaged items for myself and three children but rarely buy new appliances or electrical equipment (unless I need to replace something).
Next we want you to think back to your previous assignment – assignment 06. In that assignment we asked you to actually answer the virtue ethics questions of:
Do I practice the values I am describing?
Yes I do practice this values
Can I really claim that these are my virtues?
Is what I’m saying really what I do?
In light of what you have discovered in this assignment in relation to your own ecological footprint, we want you to critically reflect on the answers that you submitted in assignment 06. Do you think that they might need some adjustment or are you still happy that they are an accurate reflection?
I’m still happy with my answer provided in assignment 6 even though I realized that I need to make lifestyle changes and need to make better choices in what I consume and how I produce and use energy.
“It’s all in the outcome – Consequentialism”
Utilitarianism states that something is moral, or good when it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people and the ecological footprint informs us about the human pressure on the earth’s resources and allows comparisons between the demands placed on nature and the earth’s capacity to meet these demands therefore to be able to be sustainable, humanity needs to know where they are now and where they need to go in respect of their impact on earth and its resources. Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment, the climate and other species. From what we eat to how many children we decide to have so there’s a lot we can do to choose wild and reduce our environmental footprint to leave more room for economic growth that provides fairness and opportunity for all the world’s people, not just the privileged few, without further destroying the world’s limited natural resources and without compromising the world’s carrying capacity.
Fair is Fair – Distributive Justice
According to the research by the World Wildlife Fund they’ve calculated that South Africans have an average ecological footprint of 2.8 hectares which means that we are spending more resources than the Earth can sustain us and the way we use the planet’s resources makes up our environmental footprint hence If we continue living the way we do, by 2030 we will need two planets to sustain us. I believe that what keeps us fighting for a healthy world is the future of our children and they should not have to inherit our environmental problems and in order to keep their future bright, spreading awareness is imperative not only for us but children as well and they must be educated about saving the environment at a young age itself. In this way, the awareness is created early and they can also influence other kids to do the same. Global warming, pollution and other environmental concerns are on the rise which is greatly harming the environment. If kids can play a role in helping to save the earth, it will be great and we can together strive towards a cleaner and greener Earth.
According to Wikipedia, “Environmental ethics is the part of environmental philosophy which considers extending the traditional boundaries of ethics from solely including humans to including the non-human world. The major environmental issues include pollution, overpopulation, Industrial and household waste, climate change and global warming and these environmental issues have taken toll on our environment and we’ve already started seeing some disastrous effects in the form of health on humans. We need to ensure that we doing our part to keep the environment safe and protected as it is essential to keep the environment protected and free from danger so long as we willing to make a few simple and easy changes like cutting down of trees is something that we do for our own benefit, without any concern for the animals which are dependent on trees for survival because we are in possession of all of these natural resources does not mean that we can use those resources in any manner in which we choose without keeping anything for the future generations.