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How Many Earths Would We Need?

8 October 2007

At the Minnesota Energy Challenge we can show you the amount of carbon dioxide you are producing annually, but sometimes it is useful to think of things in bigger terms. Like, how many “earths” of natural resources it would take to sustain all 6.6 billion humans in our world if everyone lived your lifestyle: in a home like yours, drove and ate like you and shopped like you. To this end, American Public Media has created the Consumer Consequences game, a rather humbling exercise that will calculate your “earth” requirements based on factors like waste production, infrastructure use and energy consumption.

I’ve already reduced my footprint through the Challenge, but when I played Consumer Consequences, I discovered that we would need 3.7 earths for everyone on the planet to live like I do. A lot of my demands on the environment came from my eating habits: I eat out a little too much and I do not buy enough organic and local food. Interesting! Check it out and post your score below.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    12 November 2009 9:48 pm

    I’m doing a project on sustainable communities and how governments, individuals, and Citizens can work together to promote sustainable communities. I have to write my own article on the information that I find on the topic, including its impacts on society, and issues about sustainable communities. Do you have any suggestions or answers to what I have to include in my article?

    • 16 November 2009 3:55 pm

      Jess: sounds like a great project! You should check out the Alliance for Sustainability ( for more information on generally sustainable communities. Whatever you choose to talk about, I hope you recognize that sustainable communities can take many shapes and forms, including ones that look very much like community structures that exist today.

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