The ecological footprint is an aggregate indicator defined as «the area of ecologically productive territory (crops, pastures, forests or aquatic ecosystems) necessary to produce the resources used and to assimilate the residues produced by a given population with a specific way of life in a specific way. indefinite ». Its fundamental objective is to evaluate the impact on the planet of a certain way or way of life and, consequently, its degree of sustainability.
The advantage of the ecological footprint in understanding human appropriation is in harnessing the ability to make comparisons. It is possible to compare from the emissions of transporting a particular good with the energy required for the product on the same scale (hectares). If you want to discover how you can know the impact you have on the planet, calculate your ecological footprint with the advice and details that we give you in Green Ecology and, in addition, know details about how to reduce it.
- Ecological footprint basics
- How to calculate the ecological footprint
- Tips to reduce your ecological footprint
Ecological footprint basics
The ecological footprint is the indicator that serves to measure the environmental impact that the habits of each person produce in the environment and their degree of sustainability.
- Indicator: it is the measure used to inform about the evolution of a certain system. Indicators can measure signals quantitatively or qualitatively. Its purpose is to provide reality data in a simple and clear way.
- Sustainability: it is the name used to define the delicate balance between prolonged productivity over time and the maintenance of biodiversity.
Therefore, sustainability indicators are tools that are used to report on the situation and evolution of the environment, see how human actions impact it and seek solutions.
Different types of indicators are used to measure the degree of sustainability. Each of them affects a specific aspect of the environment, such as its state, or evolution in the face of the measures adopted.
- Impulse indicators: They serve to measure the degree and intensity of the felling of trees in forests or the emission of harmful gases such as sulfur oxide or nitrogen.
- Status indicators: They are responsible for measuring the levels of vegetation, desertification, amount of land suitable for cultivation, etc.
- Response indicators: They measure the percentages of forests subject to regulation, protected areas, etc.
In recent years, our country has experienced an appreciable migration from rural areas to urban centers. This means that by abandoning crops and agricultural production, the population is more dependent on foreign products.
Large areas of crops are required to meet the basic needs of the population. This causes a degeneration of the soil, the gradual disappearance of biodiversity and the ecosystem and dependence on mechanical locomotion systems as distances become greater. This need in turn causes us to increasingly depend on petroleum derivatives and fossil fuels.
All this leaves behind what is known as an ecological footprint that is increasing more and more and is more evident. Any action, no matter how minimal, impacts the ecosystem in one way or another.
How to calculate the ecological footprint
¿ How it is calculated the ecological footprint ? Carrying out the calculations of the environmental impact that each of us causes individually is not an easy task. However, there are approximations and methods to carry out the calculations in a more or less approximate way.
- Number of hectares needed to develop
- Number of hectares needed for food production
- Number of hectares needed to process the amount of carbon dioxide we emit
- Sea area required to obtain fish
The ecological footprint would be the result of the sum of these variables and is expressed in hectares per inhabitant and year. Two main steps are followed to perform the calculation.
Apparent consumption is measured through the following equation: Consumption = P (Production) – E (Export) + I (Import)
Apparent consumption is transformed into productive area based on the following equation: Ecological footprint = C (Consumption) / P (Productivity)
In our country it is estimated that each of us need an average of 6.5 Ha of space per capita to cover our consumption and waste disposal needs. The current population in Spain is 46,800,000 people, so we would need one land area of almost 300,000 hectares. However, the reality is that the total area of our territory barely exceeds 50,000,000 hectares, five times less than what we would need to satisfactorily cover our needs.
This gives us the dubious honor of being among the top positions in Europe and the world in leaving the largest ecological footprint. Therefore, it would not hurt to seriously rethink the impact we cause on the environment and vary our consumption habits.
We must be aware that it is not possible to continue with the current pace. Government action around the world remains tepid and does not firmly tackle the problem with protective measures or sanctions for those who violate the rules.
Tips to reduce your ecological footprint
- Consume in moderation . Compulsive shopping increases the presence of waste. By consuming less you collaborate with the environment and you will also save.
- Change the light bulbs and appliances for other energy efficient products .
- Don’t waste the water . Use the washing machine when it is full and at the lowest temperature possible.
- The drain is not the ideal place to dispose of used oil or polluting products.
- Recycle everything you can and buy recycled and chlorine-free paper to avoid increasing CO2 emissions and cutting trees.
- Toxic or dangerous products must be taken to the clean point or green point to be disposed of properly.
- Whenever possible it is preferable to buy local products. Remember to always carry shopping bags.
- The most appropriate, in addition to being healthy, is walking or using the bicycle or public transport as an alternative to the private vehicle. If there is no choice but to use it, the most ecological thing is to share it with other people to go to work or on regular trips.
- Avoid using disposable products such as razors, paper napkins, etc.
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