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Ecological footprint
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems .

It compares human demand with planet Earth 's ecological capacity to regenerate.

It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste.

Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody lived a given lifestyle.
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.
Every year, this number is recalculated - with a three year lag due to the time it takes for the UN to collect and publish all the underlying statistics.

Wikipedia

Ecological Footprint
The footprinting approach, developed by Wackernagel and Rees (1996), is based on the idea that one can assess sustainability in terms of relating human consumption of environmental resources (demand) to the carrying capacity of ecological systems (supply).

This tool was developed to measure whether a given country or region was using resources at a rate faster than nature can regenerate them.

It is a tool that gauge how much of earth that we possess, and how much that we use.

More specifically, the EF measures how much biologically productive land and water area is required to produce all the resources a given population consumes and absorb the waste that is produced.

By looking at human consumption and comparing it to nature's productivity, the EF provides a means of estimating the impact individuals, organizations, cities, regions or nations have on nature.
It's an attempt to measure the impact of human development on the planet and on future generations.
  1. Ecological footprint is:
    1. Productive area needed to:
    • Produce what we consume of food, water, fibers
    • Absorb waste
    • Give room for infrastructure
    in relation to:
    • Productive areas that are accessible

    The world has approximately 11,3 billion (thousand million) hectares of biologically productive areas
    Divided on roughly 6,8 billion people, there is roughly 1,8 hectares per person available.
    Theoretically, every person on Earth has 1,8 global hectares to provide all s/he needs and absorb all her/his wastes.
    In theory, if you use more than 1,8 hectares, your ecological footprint is too big.

    Unfortunately about 50 million acres of land annually becomes so degraded it is unfit for crop production, or it is lost to urban sprawl. At the same time world population is expected to grow by another three thousand million persons the next fortyy years.

    The global ecological footprint is now calculated to 2,2 hectares, in other words, it is rather too big.
    If this is correct, we are thus building up an ecological debt.

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