What is an ecological footprint?

An ecological footprint is the measure of the human demand on earth’s ecosystems and environment. It’s measured in a way that compares our consumption of natural resources and waste creation with the ability of our planet to regenerate those natural resources and absorb our waste.

Ecological footprints can be measured at an individual level, a city-wide or country-wide level, or for the whole planet. It’s important to know and to learn about our individual footprints in order to understand our personal impact on the environment and perhaps change our habits – this is especially important when you consider the collective actions of the world’s entire population. That’s 7.2 billion footprints! What if everyone lived the lifestyle that you lead? How many resources would that require? How much waste would they create?

The Footprint Network has a great ecological footprint quiz that anyone can take – it will examine your day to day habits and calculate how much land area it takes to support your lifestyle. The quiz also identifies your biggest areas of resource consumption allowing you to discover what you can do to tread more lightly on the earth.