Canada B.C.: Carbon Footprints

Environment   Oct 29, 2017 by Amanda To

After taking the Ecological Footprint calculator, I was very surprised to see how many earths it would take if everybody lived like my family, as I thought that we were pretty good about being environment friendly. The carbon footprint recently updated, there is no way to compare cities or countries, as there is no longer that option. I feel as though I wouldn’t be able to reduce the amount of time my family is in a car per week. We are a very active family and have many activities. As a result always on the go, making it impossible to make it there on time if we were to walk or take public transport. One thing I think my family could change would be packaged foods. My family is Vietnamese and a lot of the food that we buy is packaged or preserved. We enjoy our Vietnamese foods, but most of them aren't produced or grown in Canada. I feel that the shipping and packaging of these products impact the environment exponentially. I feel as though we can make a better effort to try to find these products in our surrounding area or to make them ourselves, instead of buying them of the store shelves. When we talk about our carbon footprint, we think about our personal life, not our companies or our workplaces. In my opinion, I think altering people’s perspectives to include their work lives as well as their personal lives is the main thing we need to do. We spend about 30% of our lives working, about 40 hours per week. If we spend so much time at work why not think about our carbon footprint within the workplace as well. Reducing carbon footprints as individuals probably don’t affect climate change all that much, because who is going to put their company's carbon footprint on their shoulders. I believe, to affect climate change we have to work on it as a whole. Employees, no matter how insignificant should always think about the things that they are doing. If I were the only person in the world trying to reduce my carbon footprint, I wouldn’t be changing anything, but as a whole, we would be able to make a difference.

When playing the game I went for an all green strategy, as well as trying to balance my unpopular laws with my popular ones. Although by the end of the game I only had unpopular laws left, which made my popularity plummet. I reduced Europe’s emissions to almost zero, while staying popular until the last two turns. I believe that the strategy cards were very good presentation, but I do think that some situations would have been different in real life. I ran out of food and water regularly, but i couldn’t find anything to boost those points without taking from another. At first, during negotiations, I tried to encourage others by investing in their green economies, but I found that it was better to lead by example. When I was meeting every emission goal by a significant amount, every person voted in favour of a global emissions goal with even greater reduction. I believe that you have to change yourself before you try to change others. If we set an example here in Canada, other global leaders would be more open to lowering carbon emissions in their own countries.

These situations don’t really give you a sense on how to combat carbon emissions, but the game really gave insight to what the leaders of the world have to deal with in terms of the environment and keeping everybody happy. I believe that these sites help people learn about how they are affecting the earth and maybe it will shock them enough that they will do something about it. Showing people these sites and getting them to take tests like these increase knowledge, which can help them to make better decisions to reduce carbon emissions.


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2 Comment(s)

Subha
Nov 15, 2017

I really like how you are explaining about not driving on cars a lot. I think if the government made the public transportation better, then people would take public transportation over their personal cars.

Sarah Flynn
Nov 5, 2017

Hi Amanda, Such great and insightful points. I really like how you reflected on the ways in which your own families consumption patterns around accessing food, dramatically impacts attempts to reduce your carbon footprint.

I also really enjoyed your comments on how organizing and negotiating change at higher levels is similar to a large-scale balancing act, with the end goal a tight rope walk of pleasing various parties, in hopes of all getting everyone to the finish line. I can imagine this plays out in almost all global discussions on political/economic/cultural change. I wonder if knowing the barriers (and perhaps political wills that go against certain changes) ever actually just stop these conversations before they even start?  It must be daunting for politicians, policy makers, and other stakeholders to continually push these topics, knowing compromise might change your idea of success at every conversation.

Great ideas in this post! Keep it up!

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