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Introducing the Deliberate Life Footprint Calculator!

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Posted on : 4:14 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,

So the more I do these ecological footprint calculators the less satisfied I am with them. One of the things I have learned about how to effectively help the environment is that living sustainably is almost just as much about how content you are with your life in general than it is about purchases. It is about well-being, because if you feel happy and have a purpose, you don't fill that hole with consumerism. So I've created a way to measure my own progress that makes more sense to me. If you've ever done one of those footprint calculators, they take your choices based on averages and figure out how many acres it takes to sustain your lifestyle. You eat vegetarian? Then they subtract some acres.

I like to think of it in reverse. For example, when I go through our stuff, instead of asking, "What can I throw out?" I ask myself, "What is necessary to live?" and then I throw away anything that doesn't fall into that category. lol it's a bit of an exaggeration but much to my family's chagrin, not that much. "Honey, where's that extra cord for the camera?" "Did you need it to live?" "No" "Then it's gone now. Better let it go." That's how this works... and it's just a point system instead of acres.


Make your own clothes - 10 points
Wear all organic clothes - 10 points
Wear used clothes - 5 points
Make your own cloth - 20 points

Make your own soap - 10 points
Make your own lye - 20 points

Build your own furniture - 20 points
Buy everything used - 10 points
Have no debt - 20 points
Work from home - 20 points
Have no unnatural materials or liquids in your home - 10 points

Have no car - 20 points
Have an electric car - 10 points
Have a 50 mpg + car - 10 points
Make your own car fuel - 10 points

Grow 100% of your food organically - 20 points
Get all your food locally and organic - 10 points
Get 75% organic food - 5 points
Get 50% locally grown food - 5 points
Be vegetarian - 10 points
Be vegetarian without relying on soy - 20 points
Save your seeds and use heirloom varieties - 20 points

Get 100% of your energy from renewables - 20 points
Get 50% of your energy from renewables - 10 points

Create no trash and recycle everything yourself - 20 points
Compost food waste and send the rest to recycling - 10 points
Make one bag of trash a week - 5 points
Have a composting toilet - 20 points
Eliminate disposable items from use (diapers, plastic wrap...) - 10 points

Have a one year food storage - 20 points
Have water filtration devices and other emergency items - 10 points
Have herbal remedies on hand - 10 points

So according to this I get 90 points. If I were living sustainably to the max, I would have around 350 points. What did you get? Do you have any suggestions? I find this list to be a good guide and gets you thinking about whether something really is sustainable. For example maybe you make soap, but do you make the lye and get the goat's milk or grow the lavender? At 350 points you could be confident you were only using one earth. Actually at 250 I think you could be too. If you want to promote this alternative sustainability measure, you can use this little image to link back:

Comments (2)

Hi Nicole! i like your footprint calculator! I scored 180.

Hi there. I've just discovered your blog and I love it.

With your calculator I score 85 which I'm pretty happy with as I have just embarked upon developing a sustainable life.