The ecological footprint is the environmental impact caused by humans over nature. Although all living beings on the planet need nutrients, energy and water to live, the term is used to indicate the amount of resources used by humans variably.
It varies depending on the lifestyle of each person, and we also found very different ecological footprints by community or organization in question.
Basically, it measures the amount of land bioproductive (one that can produce food) required to, firstly, produce the goods and services we consume and on the other, absorb the waste generated.
It is, in short, to calculate the area of land needed to live sustainable satisfying those needs or goods and services, and waste absorption. This area is what we call ecological footprint.
With this tool we can know if the planet can give us what we need, to a certain pattern of resource use. If there is sufficient bioproductive soil and marine areas, in short, that the resources it is using the world’s population can continue also being used in the future.
Otherwise, sustainability is compromised. In fact, natural resources are finite, which is necessary to control the environmental footprint if we want a morning on the face of the Earth.
It is synonymous with carbon footprint?
The ecological footprint is an environmental indicator related to the waste of human resources, while the carbon footprint measures the production of greenhouse gases generated by activities produced by humans.
While the first to measure and evaluate the impact of certain behavior on the earth’s ability to renew natural resources we need to live, the carbon footprint is used to determine the contribution of greenhouse gases, calculated in tons of dioxide carbon.
What is calculating the ecological footprint?
As mentioned, we calculate the ecological footprint helps us to know the pressure we are putting on the planet or on a given environment. It is not an accurate measure, is something known, but it is useful to take action and correct wasteful at different levels.
The main objective of the ecological footprint is be practical to determine the degree of sustainability of the planet’s resources to a particular decision or course of action specific.
However, the calculation of the ecological footprint is complex because it involves factors that can not always be quantified, so the concept is sometimes problematic and has been criticized.
Among other reasons, because there are some impacts that are not reflected in the calculation.
Still, as an indicator of sustainability it is useful if the objective is to reducing it. However, if what is at issue is to make measurements without be accompanied by measures to sustainability, long-term results can be much more prejudicial for the environment than the ecological footprint warns.
From a global approach, it plays an important advocacy work, helping us to understand the waste of resources we subject the planet. The “Living Planet Report 2000” of the WWF reminded us that the earth is about 126 million square kilometers of surface bioproductive.
The set of all, 25 percent of the total area represents the planet’s biocapacity. That is, mostly, some 75 percent of the Earth are areas of little or no bio-productivity, among other deserts, distances abyssal oceans or mountains. That is, we only have one output and conserve bio-productivity of space he still is.
Otherwise irretrievably we get closer to the natural limits of the Earth’s biocapacity. And go biodproductividad decreasing means having increasing difficulties to meet the needs of humanity.
As for us as individuals, if we ask what we can do for the environment, it may be time to calculate our ecological footprint.
It is, as the title of the post, a sustainability indicator which is indicative ask when going improvements and controlling the outcome.
How to reduce the ecological footprint
On a personal level, reduce the ecological footprint of changing our way of life in some ways. They are not drastic changes or at least, can not be if we simply want to reduce it in some respects, ideally the largest contributors.
When we get to reduce the difference by eating less meat, especially red meat, which can be replaced by poultry, fish or vegetables rich in protein.
Local consumption, use energy saving light bulbs, not abuse the heating, showering instead of bathing, avoid vampire electricity consumption or for example, betting on sustainable transport are another way to reduce the ecological footprint and, incidentally also the carbon footprint.
More Ideas: Avoid taking the plane if not necessary, dry clothes outdoors instead of using the dryer, do not throw food, avoid packaging or say, fill the washer to the fullest and choose the lowest possible temperature.
While any progress is exceeded target, the ultimate goal of every person or community should be a neutral ecological footprint. Thus, the resources that are used can be replaced and therefore, only then can we talk about sustainability. A responsibility of each and every one of us.