As a dance-artist in her mid 50s, Sue Hawksley noticed a tendency for certain categories of action to occur less often in her practice, and in particular, the category of doing difficult things balancing on one leg. Its so much effort, what reasons could there be to stand on one leg? Sue began to research, found loads of reasons, and created a solo dance work called Reasons to Stand on One Leg in which she dances and discusses the subject.
Reason #1: Locomotion
Reason #2: Animation
Reason #3: Imitation
Reason #4: Meditation
Reason #5: Medication
Reason #6: Decoration
Reason #7: Recuperation
Reason #8: Reconciliation
Reason #9: Conservation
For SUE, Sue focussed on Reason #9 - Conservation: Reduce your Global Footprint
In a playful but thought-provoking piece of dodgy citizen-science, members of the public were invited to help calculate how much land can be freed up as habitat for other creatures if we halve our global footprint by standing on one leg. Drawing around people's footprint with chalk in an unreliably small sample space of 3 quadrats yielded an average 27.3 footprints per square metre (although some of the prints came from dogs, a unicorn and a large ibis puppet, possibly skewing the results...).
The surface area of the earth is 510 trillion square metres, or 510 million km2, of which about 150 million km2 are dry land.
The global population is approximately 7.5 billion, of which probably 6 billion are capable of standing on one leg.
SO - if 6 billion people stand on one leg @ 27.3 footprints/per square metre, they would free up 219,780,219.78022 m2 (round up and convert to square kilometres = 220 km2) which is 0.00015% of the earth's landmass.
Seems small? It is 10.5 times the size of Nauru. It will make a difference, every little helps… and just being mindful of our footprint is a good start. Standing on One Leg is also terrifically good for your health, and might help you get a job as a ballet dancer :)