Ecological footprints in the Blue Water Area: Part 1

Port Huron’s Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce begins looking at their ecological footprint.

Last November, Michigan State University Extension delivered a program on Sustainability with the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce (BWACC), a non-profit organization employing three full-time staff, in Port Huron, Mich. The program, titled People, Profit, and Planet, provided online tools that organizations, businesses, communities and/or individuals can adopt to measure their impact on the environment. One of those tools, Ecological Footprint, caught the attention of Amy Lutz, Membership & Marketing Director for the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce. Lutz took the multiple-choice quiz in order learn more about the footprint concept and BWACC’s impact on the environment.

Typically when people take this quiz they find the results astonishing. Results often show that if everyone lived like they did we would need 1 or 2 Earths to live sustainably. Although, the Chamber’s results were much less impactful on the environment than perhaps they initially thought, but Lutz does admit they can do more to lower it. The Chamber discovered that if organizations of their caliber operated in the same manner they would need 1.86 Earths to accommodate sustainably. What does this mean?

Well, natural resources are finite and fragile, as most of us know already. This means that, whether an extra Earth or two (or more) are needed to sustain everyone’s needs (and wants), there simply are not resources to do so. We, as a country and world, simply do not have the equivalent fresh water, trees, air, land or food and supplies you would find if we had extra Earths!

The Ecological Footprint quiz measures the impact on the environment by taking into account food footprints, housing footprints, carbon footprints, as well as goods and services footprints. The aggregate of these areas reflects your overall ecological footprint. You can learn more about each of these categories on the Ecological Footprint FAQ. Keep in mind, though, there are multiple tools and resources online you can take which may reflect different results, as well as provide a number of variables influencing the outcome.

Part 2 of this series will address the strategies and steps the BWACC has adopted and suggests adopting to minimize your ecological footprint in your community. In the meantime, you too can measure your ecological footprint either at or and learn more.

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