I often feel that too much emphasis is placed on decreasing our ecological footprint. Even if by some incredible miracle, the entire global population began living within the means of our planet overnight, nature would still be stuffed.
Soils would still be contaminated, rivers would remain polluted, native animals would continue to be preyed on by exotic pests and disease, native plants would continue to be displaced by environmental weeds, threatened species would continue to be driven to extinction by the impacts of habitat fragmentation, CO2 would still be elevated, and climate change would still be happening. The earth we leave our children would still be poorer than the one we inherited.
Restoring and conserving nature requires us to do more than decrease our ecological footprint. That's why I love the concept of an ecological hand print.
What is an ecological hand print?
In contrast to your ecological footprint, which describes your negative impact on the planet, your ecological hand print represents your positive impact. Your ecological hand print is your contribution towards a sustainable future. It describes the good you have done for the world.
"The best one can get with a footprint is no impact at all.
The potential of a hand print is unlimited.”
I hope to have little eco footprints and a HUGE eco hand print, or at the very least have a hand print that is bigger than my footprint.
How to increase your ecological hand print
There are many ways you can increase your ecological hand print. For example, you can inspire others to act, educate, help restore a patch of bushland, campaign for change, or join a local food movement. The options are endless.
I'm sure many of you already have a nice looking ecological handprint. Could it be bigger?
An activity to celebrate World Environment Day
Today is World Environment Day. It's a day for celebrating positive environmental action and provides the perfect opportunity to think about your ecological hand print.
Simply sit for a few moments and think about what you are already doing to help the environment, and then give some thought to how you could do more.
If you feel like putting pen to paper, try this activity suggested by John Biemer:
"Draw outlines of two hands on a sheet of paper. Near each finger of the left hand, write down one of your environmental accomplishments. It is okay to give yourself credit for signing consciousness-raising save-the-whales petitions. On the right hand write down five ways you want to create sustainability. Intentions can be powerful, especially when witnessed. Share your picture with a friend."
I'll be celebrating World Environment Day today by co-ordinating a community tree planting day within an important patch of bushland. The photos accompanying this post were taken on Friday, when Little Eco and I had the pleasure of helping 85 school students plant trees. Talk about crazy!
Enjoy your World Environment Day :-)