World Wildlife Fund-Canada, a very well-respected organization has just released its Living Planet Report for 2008. It introduces some new measures of our impact on Earth including a new Living Planet Index, and new measures for global, national and individual water footprints. For example, a cotton T-shirt requires 2,900 litres of water in its production!
I am struck by how fortunate we are here in Manitoba and in the Riding Mountains, and how insulated we are from information about the impacts of living unsustainably that cause effects later on water, wildlife, and humans elsewhere on our planet. What is our water footprint in the Riding Mountain region – for each community around the Riding Mountain area, for major manufacturers or processors? How much water do individual tourism businesses use? How do we reduce our footprint? (Low flow shower-heads; low volume toilets)? How do we monitor this publicly in an open manner, transparently so that water footprint becomes part of our language with the same ease that we talk about return on investment or profit margins?
At Supereco, they provide real solutions to some of the questions about home, personal, and business questions about how to lower our carbon and water footprints. You can bookmark the site, follow them on Twitter and just be amazed at how we can live sustainably by making choices to purchase things that are much more planet friendly.
Earth Rhythms is trying, in small ways, to take some steps as a tourism business to operate sustainably. Our home office is located in an R-2000 home that we designed and built. We recycled an old house (flooring, doors, stairs, banisters, railing, doors, trim) into the new house. We ask our partners who provide food services to use local ingredients, to try to focus on a Manitoba food miles radius; we are using fuel efficient vehicles for our travel, and we purchase carbon offsets for air travel. We focus on self-propelled activities for our clients – walking, snowshoeing, hiking, bicycling. And, we constantly look for new ways to reduce our ecological, water, and carbon footprint. We’ll keep sharing what we are learning and point the way to new resources for all of us to reduce our collective water and carbon footprints.