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.