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Personal and Professional Footprint Essay

One question that troubles the world’s environment-sensitive populace is what is their ecological footprint is having on the environment. Awareness on how much the world’s population impacts on the environment remains minimal as over the years, humans have opted for processes that strain the planet’s resources. This has had tremendous negative implications to the environment. Pollution, depletion of fundamental natural resources and diminishing plant and animal biodiversity are all becoming more and more evident (Collins, et al, 2008). Consequently, I have come to question myself of how my presence especially as an ecological being impact on the environment. Two aspects of my life reveal a lot on my contribution towards an unsustainable environment. These aspects include consumption and profession.

Consumption is significantly pertinent to my ecological footprint as this is evident in my daily routines. The extent that I consume earth’s resources as an individual largely affects the environment around me. Most of my daily endeavors have a negative impact on the planet. For instance, I happen to purchase groceries which are packaged in plastic bags so often that I imagined what would happen if everyone packaged their groceries in paper bags as opposed to plastic bags. Ideally, the number of trees cut down would significantly reduce and this would in turn contribute towards sustaining the planet’s resources. Moreover, waste materials from of plastic bags are harmful to the environment on so many levels. Taking in to account the immense number of plastic bags used on a daily basis, a significant amount of waste from these plastic bags is created. The reality is this waste is usually disposed off in ways that harm the environment.

My personal association with the environment is proof enough that human involvement towards global warming is certain. Global warming, a major concern in the modern world, is primarily induced my individual actions as much as it is stimulated by large scale parties such as factories and other production entities. For instance, being a woman, normal morning habits entail use of hairsprays, spraying of deodorants among other aerosols. Further, use of shaving cream and application of many other cleaning agents is common with many people. These habits have become not just part of my daily schedule but also part of many other peoples’ daily routine. These household products that are used on a daily basis were thought to be environmentally friendly in the 1930s as they were considered non-toxic therefore safe to the environment. On the contrary, recent studies conducted after the 1970s indicate that everyday actions entailing use of these items significantly affect the environment (Morris & Parry, 2011). For starters, aerosols have the potential of causing damage to the atmosphere. Atmospheric concentration caused by release of various gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and halocarbons act as trapping agents of thermal energy resulting to a green house effect.

Green house effect causes global warming and over the past few decades, human activities that entail release of the mentioned gases have been drastically increasing (Collins, et al, 2008). On a personal note, I would imagine the extent of damage I have caused to the earth’s surface as unimaginable leave alone that caused by many other people whose morning routines are somewhat similar across the globe. Despite the many changes that have been made on the contents of everyday products such as aerosols and hairsprays, going by my ecological understanding, my application of such items considerably result to extensive damage to the environment.

Professionally, as an environmental woman, I can deductively acknowledge that human-induced global warming is a reality. Most human activities are backed by a section of wealthy individuals are interested in processes that translate to profits rather than safeguarding the environment (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004).

This group of people has managed to convince more and more people into believing that human activities are not attributable to environmental degradation. On the contrary, human have always influenced the climate and the environment. An example is illustrated in my profession as a social worker. My company deals with production of numerous print documents such as brochures as well as electronic messages which become obsolete within a short time. Additionally, most electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones used by the company workers are left on at most times even when not in use therefore leading to mass wastage of limited resources. On average, the amount of paper and electricity wasted by our firm only can overtime put a significant amount of strain on the few forests and inadequate water resources available. Essentially, my professional background and my consumption behavior somewhat inter-relate. Both largely influence the ecological footprint I have on the planet. Thanks to my profession, I am more aware of the hazardous nature of human consumption behaviors and its impact on the environment. As an ecological human, I am therefore capable of transitioning my behaviors to a more ecologically aware standing. For instance, I can now see the importance of using paper bags in place of plastic bags. Additionally, I can now understand why it is important to use environmentally friendly personal effects as even use of aerosols and the like at a personal level also impacts on earth’s planet. Moreover, I am more informed on which processes within the firm I work for can be changed to avoid wastage of resources while at the same time, save the company on costs that should not be incurred.

A significant role of sustaining both the climate and the ecosystem going into the future is played by humans. My profession as an environmentalist has predominantly helped sustain the planet. For example, I am more aware of the effects of human activities on the environment. I am no longer in denial that earth’s climate as well as environment is downgraded by human activities. Consequently, I have transitioned to become more susceptible towards the environment. In addition, I am a strong proponent of the war against adverse economic implications on the planet’s resources so as to leave a mark in the fight towards sustaining the planet’s environment.

Human induced environmental degradation is evident and awareness of human implications on the environment is non-reassuring. Many people still remain skeptic on human involvement towards environmental deprivation. A lot of awareness needs to be performed so as to sensitize more people about the issue. According to a study by George Mason University (2009), the media more specifically television, plays a minimal role in increasing environmental awareness. According to the report, television was found to be the least media platform that impacted on viewers’ knowledge concerning the issue of global warming and environmental dilapidation. Surprisingly, less common media platforms such as the print media and the internet were found to be more influential as compared to television in informing people of the true impact of carbon emissions to the atmosphere and its implications on global warming (Concordia University, 2009). Most people who do not have first-hand understanding of global warming learn of the hazards of human activities through the internet and newspapers. Public interest in this sphere of influence is merely influenced by watching television. This reality is shocking as one would expect watching television to have more impact on sensitizing people about the effects of human activities on the environment.

On a daily basis, millions of people watch television. Therefore, it would be more sensible if these numbers of viewers gained some form of concern of the environment. If people would become sensitized about human involvement in environmental degradation through television and subsequently get enlightened on ways of reducing their contribution in the issue, tremendous steps towards sustaining the planet would be made.

In my opinion, televisions can be used to increase peoples’ perceived knowledge of environmental degradation. This could be achieved through ensuring contents displayed on this platform positively highlight the situation on the ground. For example, in addition to serving as an entertainment tool, television sets can be used to perform educational functions. Reforms should be made to increase the effectiveness of this unexploited source of information as this would increase awareness which would in turn convince populations across the world to become ecological.

Undoubtedly, efforts towards sustaining the environment can only be feasible when many people come together and work towards ensuring the planet is conserved.

Through awareness, strategies that aim towards sustaining the environment can be implemented with more ease.

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Apr 9, 2014

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