In this assignment you will use online resources to become more familiar with the concept of the Ecological Footprint. You will be asked to calculate your Footprint, make comparisons between the United States and other countries, and estimate what your future Footprint might be.
The following excerpt was taken from the Global Footprint Network website, the same site that you will use to complete this assignment.
Ecological Footprint Definition: “Ecological Footprint accounting measures the demand on and supply of nature. On the demand side, the
Ecological Footprint measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions. The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of six categories of productive surface areas: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land. On the supply side, a city, state or nations
biocapacity represents the productivity of its ecological assets (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land). These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions. Both the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are expressed in
global hectares—globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity. Each city, state or nation’s Ecological Footprint can be compared to its biocapacity. If a population’s Ecological Footprint exceeds the region’s biocapacity, that region runs an
ecological deficit. Its demand for the goods and services that its land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing, and carbon dioxide absorption—exceeds what the region’s ecosystems can renew. A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If a region’s biocapacity exceeds its Ecological Footprint, it has an
ecological reserve. Conceived in 1990 by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees at the University of British Columbia, the
Ecological Footprint launched the broader Footprint movement, including the carbon Footprint, and is now widely used by scientists, businesses, governments, individuals, and institutions working to monitor ecological resource use and advance sustainable development.”
Global Footprint Network website you will complete a set of tasks and answer a set of questions (below (Ecological Footprint Template) related to your own ecological footprint. When complete, please submit to this appropriate drop box.
**Please note…you may see a DONATE button or banner on this website. You do NOT have to donate to utilize this site for this assignment.
To get started, watch this short video on the
Global Footprint Network.
1. Biocapacity per person:
2. Ecological Footprint per person:
3. Biocapacity Reserve (+)/ Deficit (-):
2. Choose any other county and repeat
1. Country chosen:
2. Biocapacity per person:
3. Ecological Footprint per person:
4. Biocapacity Reserve (+)/ Deficit (-):
3. How did the country that you selected compare to the US with respect to the values? What factors do you think influenced your findings?
4. Using this
link, enter in your personal information and calculate your own ecological footprint.
1. If everyone lived like you, how many Earth’s would we need?
2. What is your ecological footprint in global hectares?
3. What is your carbon footprint (CO2 emissions in tons per year)
4. What is your carbon footprint (P% of your total ecological footprint)
5. Using this
link investigate the state of the nation and the “the state of the states” by examining the chart that outlines the ecological wealth of the United States and answering the following questions:
1. How does your ecological footprint compare to that of the United States?
1. Suggest possible reasons for the differences between your own footprint and the USA average
2. How does your ecological footprint compare to that of the state in which you live?
1. Suggest possible reasons for the differences between your own footprint and your state
3. Choose another state. How does your ecological footprint compare to that of the chosen state? (Be sure to list the state that you chose)
1. Suggest possible reasons for the differences between your own footprint and your chosen state
Summary Question: To summarize the experience of examining the ecological impact of your own county, state and personal impact, please address the following reflection questions:
1. What is your reaction to your own ecological footprint? Were you surprised? Was it higher or lower than you expected? Summarize your feelings and thoughts about the experience of determining your own environmental impact.
2. What is your reaction to your state and nation? Were you surprised? Was it higher or lower than you expected? Summarize your feelings and thoughts about the experience of determining the environmental impact of your state and your country on the world.
3. What (if anything) do you think people should do? Should people attempt to reduce their ecological footprints and impact on the environment? Why or why not? If you do feel that they should; what are some ways that humans could curb their consumption? If you do not feel that humans should attempt to reduce their impact on the environment, explain.