creative juice

What’s your number?

By guest blogger  Kaitlin Flanigan

What’s your number? This was the question every Allovus employee was asked over the past few weeks. But this “number” does not refer to what you might think.

It actually refers to the number of planet earths each person uses in relationship to how they live day-to-day.

After taking an online test to assess their living, transportation, and eating habits, Allovus employees learned what their own personal planet earth number is. Responses ranged from 1.1 all the way to 5.4. What these numbers represent is simple: they are the number of planet earths (in terms of resources, land, etc.) needed to sustain the current earth population if everyone lived as they do. In total, the average number of earths Allovus employees collectively need is 3.04 earths.

The initial reaction from most when they learned their number was shock. Most couldn’t believe the number of earths they needed. Many thought their lifestyle was ecofriendly and sustainable. It’s easy to get comfortable in a routine without realizing it can be environmentally damaging. These results served as a wakeup call for everyone. It gave people a chance to reflect on the sustainability of their lifestyle. Many were ashamed of their number – some even felt a little hopeless. In fact, you yourself might feel discouraged after learning your number.

Fixing the current state of our planet seems like a daunting task, but there are a few easy changes you can make to your lifestyle to help improve the health of the planet (and lower your number).


Did you know food demand makes up 26% of the global Ecological Footprint? The two main issues when addressing food sustainability and sufficiency are food waste and resource inefficiency in food production. There are simple steps you can take which will have a positive impact on the environment and lower your number.

  • Shop at a local farmers’ market:  Shopping local is beneficial for the environment in many ways. First, the food hasn’t traveled long distances to get to you (which reduces carbon emissions). Second, the smaller family farms who typically sell at these markets use on average less pesticides and consume less energy than industrial farms. Third, the food often has less packaging, which eliminates excess waste. (Bonus: you’re also supporting your local economy!)
  • Plant a garden:  Growing your own fruits and vegetables can reduce the energy, waste, (and cost) that traditionally goes into making meals. You can enjoy fresh food right outside your door, drastically reducing the transportation and packaging normally used.
  • Go meatless for one meal:  Vegetarians and vegans have a significantly lower carbon footprint and earth number than meat-eaters. This is because animal calories are significantly more resource-intensive than plant calories. It takes a lot more energy to produce beef, pork, and poultry than plants. But if going vegan or vegetarian isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. By going meatless for just one day a week, you can still have a drastic impact. If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads. Consider participating in Meatless Mondays – it’s a simple fix with monumental benefits.


Cars are responsible for 19.7% of the global carbon footprint. That’s a substantial contribution. But again, there are easy steps and changes you can make to lower your contribution.

  • If there is an alternative to driving, choose it: If the opportunity presents itself to avoid car travel, choose that option. Walking and biking are excellent alternatives to taking motorized transportation. In addition, it’s more beneficial to your health. If these are not options, try public transportation. With public transit, you are sharing the impact with everyone else, lowering your direct contribution.
  • Commute socially: Carpooling is an excellent way to reduce your number, and it can be fun too! Ask around your office and see if any coworkers have a carpool system set up. If no one does, start your own! Chances are there are others who want to reduce their impact on the environment too.
  • Check your car regularly: Keep your car at peak efficiency by servicing it regularly. This will help keep emissions down and your vehicle running in tip-top shape.


Cultivating energy saving habits is something easy to do and doesn’t take much forethought and planning. Here are some small steps you can do to live a more energy-efficient lifestyle:

  • Unplug electronics when not in use: Even when your electronics like a television, computer, or cell phone are off, they still suck power when plugged in. Give these guys a quick unplug when you are finished with them to help conserve energy. To make it easier on yourself, consider using a power strip.
  • Install energy-saving bulbs in your home: Switch out old light bulbs for more energy efficient ones. This can both extend the life of your bulbs and cut down on your energy bill. Make sure to dispose of old bulbs in a safe and proper manner.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances: Low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets can help conserve both water and energy. Small changes like these around your house can have a substantial impact on your home’s energy efficiency and save you money in the process.

Our goal at Allovus is to reduce our planet use by one whole planet in one year. This is a task we can accomplish by making these small but powerful changes. What about you – are you up to the challenge to create a better, heathier planet for our future?

Figure out your number here. Share what you got in the comments below and how you are going to reduce your number!

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