Ecological footprint activity

An ecological footprint tracks how much a single person demands in the way of resources (land, water, resource production, space taken for infrastructure, waste emissions) and the supply of nature. The ecological footprint has been steadily increasing since 1960. If we continue to consume at our current rate, there will continue to be moderate growth until we require almost three Earths. If we rapidly reduce our consumption, we may be able to only use one Earth by 2050. Overshoot is the depletion of the resources on which human life and biodiversity depend (Wackernagel  & Rees, 1998). The only time they could have been equal was before 1960. Ever since 1960, the biocapacity in the U.S. has been decreasing, while the ecological footprint has been increasing. Ecological footprint for a U.S. citizen in the following years- 1961, 1973, 1985, 2001, 2005.

1961 – 6.2 hectares per capita

1973 – 8.2 hectares per capita

1985 – 7.9 hectares per capita

2001 – 8.0 hectares per capita

2005 – 8.1 hectares per capita

The ecological footprint is drastically higher than the biocapacity. At this rate, the biocapacity and ecological footprint will never equalize. It is about 3 hectares per capita lower than in the U.S. The biocapacity is much higher than its ecological footprint at first, but it is slowly leveling out. Chile’s long term sustainability is much better than that of the U.S. or Japan because its ecological footprint is lower than its biocapacity (Collins & Flynn, 2015). The average ecological footprint from 1961 to 2005 is about 3 hectares per capita. The average ecological footprint (in hectares per person) for a resident of Columbia from 1961 to 2005 is 54%. This model calculated the amount of carbon dioxide and found out the amount of productive land and sea area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions. Humanity is exploiting nature for its own gains. We are treating the atmosphere as a common resource, and we are consequently depleting and tainting it. It would require four Earths to produce sufficient resources to sustain my lifestyle if everyone on earth were to live by the same standards. This was very surprising because many of my answers seemed to be on the low end of the scales presented. It would take 17.8 global acres of Earth’s productive area and 18.2 tons of carbon dioxide to sustain my lifestyle. The percentage breakdown for each of the five categories in the pie chart for the ecological footprint is as follows:

Food – 15%

Shelter – 17%

Mobility – 8%

Goods – 11%

Services – 49%

I chose to reduce the amount of food I eat that comes from animal byproducts by half. This reduced the number of Earths needed to 3.9. If I chose to use solar energy to provide electricity to my house, it would only take 3.6 earths to sustain me.


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