Our footprint we live in is brown, far larger than what we really need, and it smells bad, partly due to the non-renewable resources we use, and the hard-to-recycle residues we create.
Our footprint should be green, either a mixture of clear-sky blue and clean pure water blue mixed with sunshine yellow, or green plants for the healthy requirements of our bodies instead of "nutritional".
Our brown footprints have changed the intensity of the wildness of nature of the planet we live on.
Tornadoes and hurricanes strip away our buildings and leave destruction in their wake. Tsunamis, floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, droughts --- our footprints are making these weather and environment extremes worse.
Most of the "green" solutions proposed are suboptimizing --- designed mainly to obtain green money from us. Many solve tiny parts of problems, but leave the major footprint issues unsolved.
A major change in lifestyle is necessary. Stop denying that we are part of the problem. Make choices that encourage positive changes, and oppose pressures from lobby groups to stick to the damaging negative status quo. Make bamends by contributing to efforts to reverse the damage that has already been done.
Sure, nature can correct the damage done to the planet, but that will take millions of years and our absence. Accept that there is no planet or moon nearby that we can economically escape to after we totally damage Earth.
And it would take us several generations to travel to another habitable planet after we manage to find one, as well as considerable expensive resources to make the trip. And if we managed to relocate to another inhabitable planet, would we just proceed to destroy it in the same way that we are doing to this one?
The green footprint that we should be living within can still be achieved. We just have to learn what wise choices to decide on to help make it happen. And we have to help educate others about those choices, so that they can make the same decisions.
If you see an iceberg floating in the ocean, you only see 1/10th of it above water, with the rest invisible underwater. If you drag the iceberg on to land, you will see a huge mountain. Since it is mostly ice, the ice melts into water, it drains away, and the mountain disappears.
The waste created as a result of what you use or consume is also a huge mountain. Because of our efficient garbage pickup and disposal systems, what you see is much smaller than 1/10th of it, unless there is a garbage collection strike as in Toronto or Vancouver, or you see the barges filled with garbage that New York City ships away.
Unlike the ice in the iceberg, plastics and aluminum take thousands of years for Nature to recycle, yet we produce and discard these materials faster than that.
You do your part in recycling to reduce that visible part, but post-consumer recycling takes energy and resources, so that is still part of your mountain. If you look at your footprint, it is slightly smaller, but it is still brown, with a green border around it.
Why don't we see the rest of that mountain? Raw materials and energy are used by manufacturers and they create waste in addition to products. Packaging is added to protect the goods during shipment to stores. Advertising is added, which is thrown away. When you buy a product, the waste that corresponds to that product is added to your mountain.
Since we obtain much of our products from third world countries, part of our invisible mountain that is created there is visible to them and they must live and cope with it. We do not pay them enough for the products to pay for processing of that waste.
We must learn more about our footprint, and find ways to reduce it's size and turn it from brown to green.
During World War II, when goods were scarce and rationed, people were told to:
"Use it up, Wear it out, Make it Do, or Do Without."
If you remember this while you shop, it can be a good start in changing your footprint.