April 15, 2013

Eco-Footprint Monday

In 2008 the average Global Ecological Footprint was 2.7 hectares - the sustainable average
is 2.0 hectares per person.
Bangladesh has an average eco-footprint of about 0.7 hectares, and yet they ranked 11th on the Happy Planet Index. 

Canada, with a much larger GDP and footprint, ranked as the 65th happiest nation.

Calculating an eco-footprint is a useful measure of environmental sustainability, or ongoing ecological health. The average shoe size of a Canadian for instance, is a large clown shoe made of plastic compared to that of Bangladesh which is a tiny bamboo sandal.

The Ecological footprint is the amount of environment needed to produce the goods and services necessary to support a particular lifestyle.

The size of a person's footprint depends on many factors. Some of these we have direct control over, including the choices we make on the products we purchase, what we eat and how we travel. Others are beyond our immediate control.

Government and business have a large effect on the size of everyone's eco-footprint. They have a responsibility to reduce the impact of their operations, just as we can make different choices to reduce our own impact.

If all of humanity lived like an average Indonesian, only two-thirds of the planet's biocapacity would be used; if everyone lived like an average Argentinean, humanity would demand more than half an additional planet; and if everyone lived like an average Canadian, a total of 3.5 Earths would be required to regenerate humanity's annual demand on nature.

Divided equally among all humans, each of us would get roughly 2 global hectares of bio-capacity to sustain us. At this level the environment would be able to replace as much as we take, and sustainability would be achieved.

In 2008 the global average ecological footprint was 2.7 hectares per person. The average for Canadians is just over 6 hectares.

The WWF reports:
"...that Canadians are using approximately 3.5 times their share of the Earth’s annual productivity, part of a global trend of increasing demand for resources by a growing population. 
This trend is putting tremendous pressures on our planet’s biodiversity and is threatening our future security, health and well-being. The correlated decline in biodiversity threatens not only the balance of our ecosystems, but economic opportunities."
Reducing our Ecological Footprint, individually and nationally, can lead to happier people, and a happier planet.

Walk softly and leave a small footprint

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