Ecological Footprint

Last time, we talked about Waste Footprint and how much your wastes have an impact on the environment. Today, we examine a much grander scale; the planet and our Ecological Footprint.

Ecological Footprint (EF) is simply the quantity of nature it takes to support a people or an economy. It gives an estimate of the area of biologically productive land and sea required to produce the renewable resources used up by a certain population as well as to absorb the waste generated.

Of all the Footprints we've discussed so far, Ecological Footprint is the only measurement that shows how much nature we have and how much demand humanity makes on it. It is good that we study our ecological footprints, so that we can understand our impact on the planet and how we can contribute to a more responsible production and consumption cycle in our society.

Every human activity has an impact on the environment somehow. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the houses we build and everything that we produce. They have effects on the world's forests, sea, streams, land, air, animals, plants, and even ourselves, humans. It is simply expected that as we produce and consume, the natural resources that go into our production and consumption are regenerated in the ecosystem.

But the reverse is the case. Take last year for instance, as at June 29, 2021, we had completely used up the amount of natural resources the earth was meant to generate for the whole of 2021. Whatever natural resources we used for the rest of that year (Ecological footprint) was more than our ecosystems could regenerate that year (bio-capacity). It was more like living beyond our means. This is called an "overshoot".

Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) marks the day in which the earth has expended that year's annual resources. We have been in ecological overshoot as far back as 1970. In 1990, the EOD was October 11. It continued to get shorter over the decades and the last one determined was on June 29, 2021.

According to the 2022 edition of the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts, we use 1.75 Earths to produce our resources and completely absorb our waste materials. From this report, we can say that the Earth uses approximately 1 year 8 months to regenerate the resources we use in 1 year. 

Imagine that in 10 years alone. Now it has been that way for over 50 years. Do you now realise the strain we put on the Ecosystem?


You can check out the answer to that using this calculator here: 

Make a conscious effort this March to preserve natural resources as much as possible.

Don't waste water, don't waste food, reduce your carbon and plastic footprint, and spread the good gospel of sustainability to other people. See you again next week.

Fiyinfoluwa Bamgbose

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