Magazine article Public Management

Footprint Evaluation Shows Progress in Santa Monica

Magazine article Public Management

Footprint Evaluation Shows Progress in Santa Monica

Article excerpt

Santa Monica, California, uses an Ecological Footprint[TM] to track its use of the earth's resources in terms of water and land area. Results of an analysis completed earlier this year show that the city's use of land shrank by 167 square miles, or 5.7 percent, from 2,914 square miles in 1990.

"While the U.S. trend is to deplete resources at a faster rate than ever before, Santa Monica is proud of its commitment and progress toward sustainability, but we still have far to go," acknowledges Craig Perkins, director of the Santa Monica Department of Environmental and Public Works Management.

One of the most effective tools for measuring human impacts on local and global ecosystems, the Ecological Footprint takes into account such uses as land, electricity and natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel, transportation and vehicles, roads, housing, food, products, waste, and recycling.

The earth's total area of biologically productive land and fresh-water sources is finite and must be shared among a growing population of more than 6 billion people. This finite amount provides about 4.5 acres per person, and the U.S. average is 24 acres per person. The average Santa Monica resident's footprint is 20.9 acres per person.

"It's a matter of limits, and we've met ours," points out Dean Kubani, sustainable-city coordinator. "The foot-print provides us with valuable information for making better choices, and we feel we can help residents become better aware of those choices." Simple things that individuals can to do to reduce their ecological impact include carpooling, using public transportation, reducing energy use, eating locally grown foods, and buying in bulk to reduce the amount of waste we create. …

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