The Ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystem. It basically tells us how much humans consume, to sustain our current trend and culture of living vs. the Earth’s Ecological capacity to regenerate. The calculator works by summing up all the biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless corresponding waste. So, to check your own footprint you need to enter few simple details to calculate how many earths/Global Hectares it requires sustaining the living needs of ever person on this earth.
Ecological footprint breakdown:
My Personal footprint summed up-to 3.2 earths, which is pretty high cause we don’t have 3.2 earths.
The calculator showed 60% of the land required to sequester my needs from planet earth was just for food. About another 10-12% was required to produce electricity , dispose my waste and generate various services.
A global hectare is a common unit that encompasses the average productivity of all the biologically productive land and sea area in the world in a given year. Biologically productive areas include cropland, forest and fishing grounds, and do not include deserts, glaciers and the open ocean. My personal footprint showed I required 5.7 of global hectares for my yearly consumption. I alone was producing 6.1 tonnes of carbon.
One thing I noticed about this calculator was I tried to reduced all my consumption to a minimum that is never consume meat, eat only unprocessed food, make less garbage than regular households, have electricity, living in a green small home and only travelling by a bicycle. The result, which I received was 2.5 earths, which is still very high and raised serious issues and questions , have humans crossed a point beyond return? Are we a generation of mindless consumerism?
For 2006, humanity’s total Ecological Footprint was estimated at 1.4 planet Earths – in other words, humanity uses ecological services 1.4 times as fast as Earth can renew them, which raises serious issues on our sustainability for future generations and even the current one.
Steps to reduce your Ecological Footprint:
- Consume less of meat products. Meat and their by products require the highest amount of water for their production, applying their true cost accounting a 1 kg=2.2 pounds of meat (Assuming Beef) it requires 15500 litres of water per kg of beef. The animal consumes nearly 1300 kg of grains (wheat, oats, barley, corn, dry peas, soybean meal and other small grains),
7200 kg of roughages (pasture, dry hay, silage and other roughages), 24 cubic meter of water for drinking and 7 cubic meter of water for servicing. (Source: waterfootprint.org)
- Start using 100% post recycling packaging products.If we used post-recycled material we could save 14 million hectares each year.
- Overall , as humans we should start building love for the stuff and resources we have. This is the only way we can stop consuming more and more and start building a better , greener planet for us and our future generations.
[Ecological Footprint image from http://library.thinkquest.org/]