An ecological footprint is a calculation method that was created to determine the sum of land it takes to provide for human consumption, the land needed to absorb the wastes emitted, and the space required for infrastructure.
The ecological footprint was created by Mathis Wackernagel. Mathis created this term in the early 90’s while at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
The ecological footprint is a great indicator of our sustainability or lack thereof. It provides us with an idea of how much land we each require to live the lifestyles we do. Spreading the concept of an ecological footprint is a great way to promote decreased consumption throughout the world.
Americans are living increasingly lavish and disposable lifestyles
This may be enjoyable to some, but it comes at a cost to us all. “In 2007, the Global Footprint Network estimated the global ecological footprint as 1.6 planet Earths; that is, they judged that ecological services were being used 1.6 times as quickly as they were being renewed.”
Over consumption is an issue that will continue to worsen due to the rapid population growth of humans. Luckily for us, some of the world’s brightest minds are actively researching ways that we can reduce our ecological footprints.
What is the Average Human’s Ecological Footprint?
Have you ever thought about the amount of land and resources it takes to sustain the lifestyle you live? According to the Post Carbon Institute, “the average world citizen has an eco-footprint of about 2.7 global average hectares while there are only 2.1 global average hectares of bio-productive land and water per capita on Earth.”
These statistics show that there is a deficit between the ecological footprint of the average world citizen and the amount of bio-productive land available per person. This means that people are using the resources available on earth faster than they can be replenished.
While this may not be noticeable on a day to day basis, it adds up over time. Humans need to drastically reduce their consumption to have any hope of re-balancing Earth’s precious resources.
On average, humans are living above their means and using resources quicker than they can be replenished. We are falling into a downward spiral of overconsumption and underproduction. If we keep consuming at this rate we will face serious consequences.
It’s very important for each and every human to be conscious of their consumption while making an effort to reduce their overall ecological footprint. If we act now we may be able to reverse this problem before it’s too late.
If you’re interested in reducing your ecological footprint check out my post, 3 Simple Strategies to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint.