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Our ecological footprint

Ecological Footprint: A measure of the amount of natural resources an individual, a community, or a country consumes in a year.

In most cases you’ll hear the term “ecological footprint” used when referring to environments and climate change. However, despite that reputation, it is also a very clear way of showing us just how much we westerners consume.

The ecological footprint takes into account the amount of land required to supply the resources we consume, such as food, timber, energy, the land/space we live on and the land/space taken to absorb our impacts (such as waste and pollution). In the world, there are 12.4 billion hectares of bioproductive land (land we can use for food). This (if evenly divided amongst the current population of 6 billion people) divides up into approximately 1.7 hectares of land per person. That means that in order for the world to cope with our demands for it, we must each only demand what 1.7 hectares can offer. The problem is that the land is not divided as it should be.

Ethiopians require 0.8 hectares of land per person (sustainable)

India, despite its large and growing population requires 1.1 hectares of land per person (sustainable)

Egypt requires 1.7 hectares of land per person (the correct amount)

China requires 1.8 hectares of land per person (a little over)

The U.K requires 6.2 hectares of land per person (very high)

The U.S requires 12.6 hectares of land per person (much too high)

What this all means is that a large percentage of the world are taking up way more than their fair share of space. The western countries are importing land from all over the world. Not only are we taking up space in our own countries, but the demands of our consumer lifestyles are requiring developing countries to give up their land to grow cash crops which will be exported over to the west. If the population keeps growing at the same rate it has been for the last 20 years, this uneven divide of land will become a bigger problem. Its so simple: The more people there are in the world, the less space there is to produce what they need.

So what can we do about it?

  • We can buy locally produced products
  • Reduce the energy we waste
  • Reduce the diversity of our diets
  • Reduce our reliance on transport
  • Reduce our waste and rubbish production
  • Reduce water waste
  • Invest in eco-friendly houses
  • Protect animals and environments which supply us with most of our resources
  • Encourage recycling

If you want to work out your ecological footprint here is a simple place to give you some idea


  1. Good summary. I just took the quiz and was feeling pretty righteous about my answers, but it turns out if everyone on the planet was me, I’d need 1.8 earths. grr.

  2. Yeah i was the same but happened to be bang on 1.7. Thats simply because i cycle everywhere, don’t have a “proper” job, and live in a house with loads of people.

  3. supaza89,

    Our planet can still provide Food to all people.It cannot provide Consumer Goods to all people.If we want to save Environment we will have to stop production of most consumer goods.

    In this context I want to post a part from my article which examines the impact of Speed, Overstimulation, Consumerism and Industrialization on our Minds and environment. Please read.

    Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

    The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

    The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

    Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
    Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
    Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
    Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

    Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

    If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

    Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

    When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

    There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

    People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

    Emotion ends.

    Man becomes machine.

    A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

    A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

    Fast visuals/ words make slow emotions extinct.

    Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys emotional circuits.

    A fast (large) society cannot feel pain / remorse / empathy.

    A fast (large) society will always be cruel to Animals/ Trees/ Air/ Water/ Land and to Itself.

    To read the complete article please follow any of these links :



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