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Ecological Footprint

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Sarah Walker

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint
The Footprint
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems.
It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply the resources a human population consumes, and to assimilate associated waste. Using this assessment, it is possible to estimate
The Ecological footprint is made up of four individual footprints including the:
The carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide, emitted by a nation (through activities or product's manufactures and transport) during a given period.
Th water footprint measures the total volume of water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by a nation.
People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc.
The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.
"The interest in the water footprint is rooted in the recognition that human impacts on freshwater systems can ultimately be linked to human consumption, and that issues like water shortages and pollution can be better understood and addressed by considering production and supply chains as a whole," says Professor Arjen Y. Hoekstra, creator of the water footprint concept. "Water problems are often closely tied to the structure of the global economy. Many countries have significantly externalized their water footprint, importing water-intensive goods from elsewhere. This puts pressure on the water resources in the exporting regions, where too often mechanisms for wise water governance and conservation are lacking. Not only governments, but also consumers, businesses and civil society communities can play a role in achieving a better management of water resources."

Water is a necessity of life, a necessity to all living things. What’s more, water is constantly being re-circulated. But once water is contaminated with human pollution the previous re-circulation process becomes increasingly challenging as we continue to contaminate and consume the fresh water in the cycle.
7% of the Earth’s water is salt water in the form of seas and oceans. This leaves 3% of the Earth’s water supply, of which 2% is unavailable to us. What remains is a mere 1% of the Earth’s total water supply that is freshwater and easily available in one form or another for our use. It’s easy to see how over 6 billion people can have a great influence on this small percentage of the Earth’s water supply.
It’s especially easy here in Canada to take freshwater for granted. Canada has some 9% of the world's total freshwater resources for only 30 million people — about half of one percent of the world's population. This may explain our high average daily domestic water use, as shown in the chart below.
Water is taken for granted without people even realizing.
But a key factor is...
Follow Up...

start composting
use more energy-efficient light bulbs, shower heads etc.
switch to forms of recreation and tourism which have a low impact on the environment
grow gardens and fruit trees
live closer to work or find work closer to home
use bicycles and public transport, rather than cars
buy items made or grown locally rather than far away
Households can start by reducing their resource consumption. At the urban level we must develop an infrastructure that leaves options open, rather than one option which dictates resource-intensive lifestyles for our own and future generations. Along with lifestyle changes, there must be changes in our economies.
Plan attractive increased population density areas such as town centres and urban villages instead of accommodating further sprawl
offer living, working and shopping spaces in integrated neighbourhoods
reallocate urban space to encourage decreased use of cars. (e.g reduce road and parking space) and increase use of public transport, bicycles and walking (e.g. build bicycle speedways and attractive pedestrian areas)
encourage the planting of trees and greenspaces
establish urban land-trusts to give the community more control over land use
promote various kinds of affordable high density housing such as; secondary suites and cooperatives
introduce housing construction guidelines which minimize the consumption of resources
develop comprehensive waste reduction systems which include municipal resource reuse and reduction schemes
rely on using locally available resources rather than imported ones
regain local control over production and distribution of those resources
secure local needs so that the long term livelihood of a region can be protected without compromising the livelihoods of other people in other regions
charge the true costs for private transportation, pollution and resource use
support community-based non-cash, volunteer and mutual aid networks
encourage ecologically sound businesses
offer tax breaks and other incentives for encouraging sustainable lifestyles, and tax and regulate unsustainable: behaviour.
how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity if everybody followed a given lifestyle
The carbon Footprint is 54 percent of humanity’s overall Ecological Footprint and its most rapidly-growing component. Humanity’s carbon footprint has increased 11-fold since 1961.
87 % of all human-produced carbon dioxide emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil. The remainder results from the clearing of forests and other land use changes (9%), as well as some industrial processes such as cement manufacturing (4%).
When people attempt carbon neutrality, they cut their emissions as much as possible and offset the rest. Carbon offsets let you pay to reduce the global greenhouse gas total instead of making radical reductions of your own. When you buy an offset, you fund projects that reduce emissions by restoring forests, updating power plants and factories or increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human sources of carbon dioxide emissions have been growing. Human activities such as the burning of oil, coal and gas, as well as deforestation are the primary cause of the increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
Due to human activities, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has been rising extensively since the Industrial Revolution and has now reached dangerous levels not seen in the last 3 million years.
The largest human source of carbon dioxide emissions is from the combustion of fossil fuels. Burning these fuels releases energy which is most commonly turned into heat, electricity or power for transportation.
Coal is responsible for 43% of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, 36% is produced by oil and 20% from natural gas.
For every tonne of coal burned, approximately 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide are produced.
This sector produced 41% of fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. Around the world, this sector relies heavily on coal, the most carbon-intensive of fossil fuels, explaining this sector giant carbon footprint.
The industrial, residential and commercial sectors are the main users of electricity covering 92% of usage. Industry is the largest consumer of the three because certain manufacturing processes are very energy intensive.
Specifically, the production of chemicals, iron/steel, cement, aluminum as well as pulp and paper account for the great majority of industrial electricity use.
The residential and commercial sectors are also heavily reliant on electricity for meeting their energy needs, particularly for lighting, heating, air conditioning and appliances.
The transportation sector is the second largest source of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Transporting goods and people around the world produced 22% of fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions in 2010.
Since the 1990s, transport related emissions have grown rapidly, increasing by 45% in less than 2 decades.
Road transport accounts for 74% of this sector's carbon dioxide emissions. Marine shipping produces 14% of all transport carbon dioxide emissions.
Global aviation accounts for 11% of all transport carbon dioxide emissions. International flights create about 62% of these emissions with domestic flights representing the remaining 38%.
CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion (2012), International Energy Agency.
The industrial sector is the third largest source of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. This sector produced 20% of fossil fuel related carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. The industrial sector consists of manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture. Manufacturing is the largest of the 4 and can be broken down into 5 main categories: paper, food, petroleum refineries, chemicals, and metal/mineral products. These categories account for the vast majority of the fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions by this sector.
Many manufacturing facilities directly use fossil fuels to create heat and steam needed at various stages of production.




er P


The food footprint represents the amount of
various foods consumed by a nation and their impact .
This footprint is categorized by livestock, agriculture and seafood.
Americans consume an average of 200 pounds of meat, 31 pounds of cheese, 16 pounds of fish, and 415 pounds of veggies on an annual basis.
Land degradation is a major threat to biodiversity, ecosystem stability, and society’s ability to function. Because of the interconnectivity between ecosystems across scales, land degradation triggers destructive processes that can have cascading effects across the entire biosphere. Loss of biomass through vegetation clearance and increased soil erosion produces greenhouse gases that contribute global warming and climate change.
During recent two centuries, the increase of withdrawal and combustion of fossil fuels and other resources much more rapidly.
Due to presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which cover the Earth, this energy is caught and never leaves the Earth.
12-15 million hectares of forest are lost each year, the equivalent of 36 football fields per minute.
Causing extended consequences of:
Reducing biodiversity
Disrupted water cycles
Increased soil erosion
Disrupted livelihoods
Forms of water pollution:
Marine pollution
Ocean dumping
Oil spills
Urban runoff
Ship pollution
Fish kill
Mercury in fish
At a global scale, it has been estimated that livestock (including poultry) contribute, directly and indirectly, to about 9% of total carbon dioxide emissions, 37% of methane emissions and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions.
Also, the contribution of the production of one kilogram of beef requires 15 thousand litres of water.
The production of food is the main contribution towards the ecological footprint being that its greatest indent is made through the carbon emission and water usage.
It is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases, responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalents. By comparison, all transportation emits 13.5% of the CO2. It produces 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, and 37% of all human-induced methane.
Seafood production has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to land-based meat production. The carbon footprint of salmon production is only slightly higher than that of chicken, half of that of pork and one tenth of the carbon footprint of beef production. This includes the fact that seafood is transported over longer distances to market than meat.
These finding are not surprising considering the efficiency of salmon farming.
The Water footprint Network estimates that 92% of the global water footprint is due to agricultural production and that the primary production phase typically accounts for the vast majority of a product’s total water footprint.
Currently the total arable land is 13.31% of the land surface. The land space is composed of 1.5 billion hectares of cropland, 3.5 billion hectares of grazing land, 3.6 billion hectares of forest land, and 0.2 billion hectares of built-up land, as of 2004. Now close to 40% of the Earth's land surface is presently used for cropland and pasture.
The land footprint measures the land mass humans have come in contact with and affected.
Human have a greedy tendency to consume everything being that they will gain some form of positivity towards their lifestyle.
Although UK house sizes are relatively small at 76 m2 (818 ft2), Canadian houses are quite big at 181 m2 (1,948 ft2). For China the data only reflects urban properties, which now average 60 m2 (646 ft2) and have almost doubled in size in the last 15 years.
The size of a home is controled through the amount of wealth, in which is reflected through the previous diagram. Focusing on developed countries, this is only the average sized home while people with a larger income would choose home of larger capacity and even have more than one (or two) homes, their reasons being that they have the money.
Also, the fact of supply and demand, push industries to expand increasingly to fulfill the peoples needs, which bring the companies more power and wealth in their favour. Especially in agriculture and grazing.
Over Population
A key factor to the cause would be the growing population, since there is limited amount of livable space, it is becoming over crowded as the population increase.
Animals may get trapped or poisoned with litter in their habitats. Cigarette butts and filters are a threat to wildlife and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds and whales, who have mistaken them for food. Also animals can get trapped in the rubbish and be in serious discomfort and a hazard.
A remarkable amount of of unnecessary waste is produced through large industries; doubled plastic packaging or bags, coffee "coats", etc.
Wasted Food
Electronic waste
The processes of dismantling and disposing of electronic waste is becoming more difficult as technology continued to advance.Liquid and atmospheric releases end up in bodies of water, groundwater, soil and air and therefore in land and sea animals – both domesticated and wild, in crops eaten by both animals and human, and in drinking water.
The damage of landfills can include infrastructure disruption pollution of the local environment (such as contamination of groundwater and/or aquifers - a body of permeable rock which can contain or transmit groundwater - by leakage or sinkholes and residual soil contamination during landfill usage, as well as after landfill closure); off gassing of methane generated by decaying organic wastes harboring of disease vectors such as rats and flies, particularly from improperly operated landfills, which are common in developing countries; injuries to wildlife; and simple nuisance problems
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