For Earth Day this year, Mme Laporte’s grade 5/6s took a deep diver into their own sustainability by investigating their personal EcoFootprints. The students were already working on a project building 3D models of First Nations Tipis, so we looked at our lifestyle in comparison to a traditional First Nations lifestyle of living off the land.
First, the students calculated their individual EcoFootprints, looking closely at their food, the size and efficiency of their homes, consumption, and transportation habits. They discovered that if everyone in the world lived like them in the luxury and privilege of the City of Cranbrook, we would need between 2.8 and 5.1 planet Earths!
Then, the students experimented and stretched the limits of the EcoFootprint calculator by estimating how sustainable a traditional First Nations family would have been. Does living off the land, in a Tipi like they modeled, really make that much difference? As it turns out: YES! Even with the oddities of using the EcoFootprint calculator tool in a way it was not designed, the First Nations EcoFootprint estimations ranged from 0.8-2.4 planets. That’s an average of 2 planets less!
Such a difference was startling. The class drafted paragraphs, comic strips or graphs to share their findings and discuss ways they can make their own lifestyles even a little more sustainable. We don’t have 5.1 planets or even 2.4 planets; there is no “Planet B”.