Imagine if you could see, piled up in front of you, all the things you will ever use and consume in your lifetime. How many milk will you drink? How many nappies will you use? How many words will you speak? How many tears will you cry? This film is the answer to these questions and others as it attempts to take the average footprint of each and uses two children to chart the resources that they will use and the waste they will produce over their coming lifetimes.
The film follows an American boy and girl from birth to death and shows their average consumptive footprint. For example, at the beginning we learn that the average baby requires 1,08 liters of crude oil and 4.5 trees just to make their diapers; and then as teenagers the boy and girl develop hygiene habits that will lead to the use of over 156 toothbrushes, 389 tubes of toothpaste, 656 bars of soap, and 198 bottles of shampoo over their lives; and as adults it’s estimated that the young man and woman will live in a 0,1858 square meters home and move about 10 times, with each home requiring 13,837ft of lumber, 17 tons of concrete, 181,44 kg of copper piping, and 113,59 liters of paint to construct. That’s a lot of awesome data, and the strength of the film is in how it visually demonstrates these abstract footprint values. As a primarily visual learner, this documentary really helped me to see how much stuff I potentially use in my life, both directly and indirectly.
I thought the best parts of the “Human Footprint” film were in the scenes where they reveal the backstories of products or otherwise break down the sub-footprints of the things we use. The “Human Footprint” does not make a strong argument about how you can reduce your carbon footprint or human footprint, but as a compilation of data coupled with dramatic and eye-catching images, I think the film serves as a good introduction to how big an impact our direct and indirect consumption of goods and services has...
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