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Transcript of Ecological Footprint
What is the ecological footprint?
Our footprint is not just the outline of our shoe – it’s also
the mark that we leave behind
when we’re walking through the forest, running on the beach, or buying our groceries.
Every action has a reaction, and sometimes these can be far reaching, impacting other areas around the globe.
The ecological footprint is a measurement of
human impact on nature
. People consume what nature produces for survival – it’s a necessity! Because of this, we all have an impact on our planet. As long as we don’t take more from the Earth than it can produce, we’re not doing too badly.
How much is too much?
We are dependent on the Earth
for food, shelter and energy. For this we need resources - productive land to grow our food, build our homes, produce our energy, and to store our wastes.
We expect that the Earth will be able to accommodate our “need” for these resources, but are we expecting too much?
The average American requires 12.4 hectares of productive Earth in order to support their lifestyle, and the average Canadian requires 7.8 hectares;
nature provides only 2 hectares of bioproductive space for every person in the world
Calculate your own ecological footprint
How does the ecological footprint vary across the class?
Plot the class data as a pie graph in Excel. Classify the data into categories of 1 increments.
For example: 3 people got an ecological footprint of between 1 and 1.9, 5 people got an ecological footprint of between 2 and 2.9, etc.
How does the ecological footprint vary across the world?
Use an atlas to locate and shade in the countries mentioned in the handout – The Ecological Footprint of selected countries.
for countries that have an ecological footprint of 5.0 or more
for countries that have an ecological footprint of between 1.9 and 4.9
for countries that have an ecological footprint of 1.8 or less
Give your map a title. Add a key to your map.
1. Look carefully at the map. Can you see any patterns? What might explain any patterns you see?
2. The earth can support an average ecological footprint of 1.8 global hectares per person. From this activity, what can you conclude about the earth’s ability to support world population and our desire for resource consumption?
There are different variables used in the calculation (food, shelter, mobility, goods and services). How does your ecological footprint break down?