I’ve been thinking about an initiative underway this week by OzGREEN (‘One Planet Week’) to motivate people toward living sustainably.
Many people are now familiar with the term ‘Ecological Footprint’ and the concept of needing several Earth’s worth of resources to sustain our current lifestyles. But what does this all mean?
Ecological Footprints and how they are measured
An Ecological Footprint is a measure of the resources used by a person based on their activities, lifestyle and levels of consumption. This is measured in global hectares (gha), being the amount of land and sea required to supply the resources and deal with the waste generated.
See our related blog post: Calculating Your Eco Footprint.
For most people approximately half their eco-footprint will be from food consumption, followed by energy use, transport and goods and services.
Average Ecological Footprint
The average Ecological Footprint for an Australian is about 7gha. If every one of the Earth’s 7 billion people consumed the resources that we do, it would take the biocapacity of 3 or more Earth’s to support their lifestyle. The Earth’s biocapacity is the amount of biologically productive land and sea that is available to meet humanity’s needs.
As it is now, the Earth’s population has exceeded the Earth’s ability to support our current rate of consumption. We are depleting finite resources faster than ever before.
What can we do to reduce our Ecological Footprint?
Quite a bit really, and it’s easy by taking lots of small, simple steps. The simplest and cheapest thing we can do first is to reduce the amount of waste we create in all our activities, for example:
- Become energy and water efficient (a good starting point is to understand your current usage).
- Become foodwise.
- Choose less packaging and use reusable coffee cups, water bottles, shopping bags, etc.
- Compost and wormfarm organic waste.
- Walk, cycle and use public transport, carpool and consolidate car trips.
Collectively our actions add up to enormous change.
- Marta Lett
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