La ecological footprint it is an indicator used to understand the degree of social impact on the land. This concept was proposed in 1996 on the advice of economist William Rees and ecologist Mattis Wackernagel. This indicator helps us to know the regeneration capacity of the planet and the rate at which we consume the available resources. The human being every year consumes all the available resources of the planet before, so we are reaching an environmental collapse.
In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the ecological footprint, what are its characteristics and importance.
Table of Contents
What is the ecological footprint
The ecological footprint it is an indicator of environmental social impact. In this way, it measures the impact of demand on existing natural resources on the planet, related to its ability to regenerate these resources.
In other words, it is generally defined as the total ecological production area, which is necessary to produce the resources consumed by ordinary citizens in a particular community. In this measure, the necessary surface is added so that the earth can absorb the waste generated by this ordinary citizen.
The ecological footprint is defined as the area of ecological productivity necessary to produce the resources used and assimilate the waste generated by a specific population. Consider your specific standard of living indefinitely. Thanks to the ecological footprint, we can assess the impact of a certain form of life on earth. Therefore, it is a widely used indicator for measuring sustainable development.
Calculation of the ecological footprint
To calculate the ecological footprint, there are various estimation and approximation methods. However, the most used consider the following elements:
- The areas necessary for the necessary plant foods.
- The number of forest hectares necessary to cover the carbon dioxide generated by energy consumption.
- The sea area necessary for fish production.
- The number of hectares required for livestock farms and feed production.
Despite constant calculations, it is clear that there are difficulties in obtaining a fully accepted method. In this sense, we are talking about an indicator in development, so there is no clear calculation method.
The appearance of this concept dates back to 1996. The economist William Rees and his ecologist Mathis Wackernagel tried to find a way to allow humans to understand the sustainability of current lifestyles. The focus of its calculation objective is to study an indicator that can assess the sustainability of the land under current conditions and the impact of human excrement on it. This is always to support a more sustainable production model.
To this end, these researchers focused on calculating indicators such as the area required to provide the necessary plant food, the number of hectares of forest required to support the carbon dioxide generated by energy consumption, the oceanic area required to produce fish and the number of hectares required for pasture. Feed livestock and produce animal feed.
These indicators, after being integrated into a series of algorithm models, they provide the degree of influence of a given population on the earth. In this way the indicator was created, which has been used frequently by many governments. However, many critics believe that the model does not establish sufficiently effective standards to consider it fully developed. Some researchers have even discovered the limitations of this indicator and it cannot be calculated under certain circumstances.
Types and importance
From the measurements made, we can divide the types of ecological footprints into three categories:
- Direct: Consider direct action against nature.
- Indirect: takes into account the indirect effects of nature.
- Collective footprint: Consider the impact of community groups on the planet.
However, since this indicator is under development, in addition to these indicators, new rates may appear. The ecological footprint is an indicator that must be developed and improved. Its use is very useful for the planet because we are talking about a situation in which, as reflected by the indicators, the use of natural resources can be unsustainable in the long term.
Due to the ecological footprint, we can adopt production methods that promote the future sustainability of the planet. Sustainability can not only extend the life of the world and its ecosystems, but also improve the quality of life of the citizens who live in it. Well, because of the ecological footprint, many diseases caused by humans and their waste can be avoided. Like other types of species other than humans, their quality of life has also improved thanks to this indicator.
Tips to reduce it
To reduce the ecological footprint, different areas must be addressed. Here are some tips to help you do just that. They can also apply them to other footprints, such as water or carbon, because they are all interrelated.
- Use low consume bulbs.
- Install insulating walls and ceilings.
- Double glazed windows.
- Use energy efficient appliances.
- Recycle everything that is consumed correctly.
- Use public transportation instead of private cars to help reduce air pollution.
- Don't drive polluting cars.
- Walking or cycling is a more sustainable way to travel in cities.
- It is better to travel by train or bus than by plane.
- Using the lowest thermostat possible for winter heating is one of the most effective ways to reduce your ecological footprint.
- Reduce the use of air conditioning in summer.
- Unplug the electronic device when not in use.
- Dry your clothes naturally without using a tumble dryer.
- Avoid using disposable products and if you do, always find the right way to recycle them.
- Give all objects a second life.
- Reduce water consumption for all purposes.
- Avoid using plastic as much as possible (although it can be recycled in the future).
- Buy local and seasonal foods (to avoid long-distance transportation and contamination).
- Eat organic foods that rarely or do not use pesticides and fertilizers in the production process.
- Reduce meat consumption: The meat industry generates many greenhouse gas emissions.
- Avoiding the purchase of products that contain palm oil and processed foods is another important recommendation to reduce the ecological footprint and protect the forests of Southeast Asia.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about the ecological footprint and its importance.