The Importance of the Ecological Footprint

Today it is important for people to become familiar with the idea of Ecological Footprint. It’s a method of accounting utilized by business, governments as well as educational institutions to measure the biological sustainability of the earth based on the activities of people and their growing populations.

It has been designed to gauge the quantity of the biologically productive sea and land areas that a sector of a human population needs in order to sustain themselves and the level of carbon dioxide emission absorbed. This is then measured against the amount of land and sea available to meet these needs in the area where a human population is located.

Ecological FootprintLand and sea that has been designated as biologically productive must be designed to meet a human population’s need for food, energy resources, wood products, space for construction and more. The land and sea must also absorb the carbon dioxide emissions created by people who sustain themselves in the measured area. These areas are farmed fields, places where fishing takes place and more. The expanse of the ocean, deserts and glaciers are not designated as biologically productive.

In order to measure the footprint of a specific area, calculators have been designed for this specific task. It will measure an individual’s ecological footprint by calculating all the biological materials consumed and waste created by that individual during a twelve month period. This number is then converted into a biocapacity measuring unit called the hectare, which can be converted into a global hectares based on yield and other factors. The total of global hectares required to maintain resource levels and waste production of an individual equals their footprint.

This footprint has been designed to show the level of natural resources being consumed by the human population of the planet. Early indications on information gathered indicates that human society is going to have to alter the way it consumes natural resources if current and future human population levels are to be maintained. It can show the impact of human societies on specific areas of the planet. These results can motivate those in charge to seek new and different ways to conserve and protect the world’s natural resources.

It is an accepted fact that recycling reduces an individual’s footprint by decreasing the demand for products made from natural resources, and decreases the need for the earth to absorb waste. When plastics are recycled their impact on landfills in lowered. Recycling paper decreases the need for trees to be harvested from the forest. Many different forms of successful recycling significantly lowers the footprint of humanity on the earth.

When using footprint calculator it’s important to remember that it’s only as good as the accuracy of its source data. These calculations are also affected by the methods utilized and calculation limitations. There are organizations actively working on developing an even more accurate calculation method than the ones currently being used.

Knowing and understanding the idea of Ecological Footprint is important for every person living on the earth. It’s a way to know when natural resources are being depleted at a disturbing rate. This makes societies aware that changes must be made to accommodate their needs and those of the planet.

Category: Sustainability

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