Everybody seems to be talking about “ecological footprints” or “environmental footprints” these days, but it seems likely that most people have little or no idea of what these terms actually mean. Here in Mirlo we believe that it’s really important that we should all know what we’re talking about, because if we do then that will help us to be more aware of the consequences of how we use the earth’s resources, and also because conceptually, this is in fact what our entire proposal is based on.
So let’s see if we can explain what it means: a positive ecological footstep is a unit of measurement used to indicate how many acres are needed to produce the resources that an average individual in a given community consumes, and also the acres that are needed to absorb the waste material that he or she generates. In other words, it measures the resources we consume and the area of land required to handle the waste we generate. We use these measurements to work out how sustainable an ecosystem is and to calculate the impact and the erosion that any form of life causes in its own environment.
There are lots of tools in the Internet that help you calculate the ecological footprint we leave in our day to day activities. There’s a good example in the Ecological Footprint web. You fill in a survey about your consumer habits and it’ll tell you more or less how much of an environmental footprint you generate on a daily basis. When you reach the end they show you how many planets we would need if everybody had the same consumer habits. We recommend you take a few minutes to try it – It’s quite an eye-opener.
Mirlo is all about offering everybody an opportunity to compensate for this footprint but we want to go one step further: we’re talking about turning this indicator round and about leaving a positive ecological footprint. Even if our consumption levels are quite reasonable, there’s no way the planet can cope with our current rhythm. If we want to leave a healthy planet to those who will be living in it when we’re no longer here, then it’s no longer enough just to wipe out our footprint, we have to start helping the planet to recover, we have to give back all that it gives us.
By contributing with any of our Mirlo Positive Nature projects you’re helping to generate “positive footprint”. But your contribution doesn’t just help wipe out the ecological carbon footprint we all generate – it also produces results that are really beneficial for everybody:
- We plant trees and we improve the forests, which encourages biodiversity and rainfall.
- We create employment because working in the country always calls for lots of manpower.
- We stimulate the local economy: not only do we hire local people to reforest the area, we also get local companies involved in collaborating with the Positive Nature packs in all our projects (hotels, producers of honey, wine etc.).
- When we talk about all this in our own networks, we’re spreading the word that sustainability is a good thing.
- We improve the countryside.
These are just come of the positive consequences of our projects. How about becoming a mirlo yourself?