This post is going to talk about the ecological footprint, showing the differences around the world and how people exploit earth’s resources without caring about the consequences.
First of all, what is the ecological footprint?It defined as “the area of productive land and water ecosystems required to produce the resources that the population consumes andassimilate the wastes that the population produces, wherever on Earth the land and water is located.”1 Also we should mention the concept of the “overshoot ” which is the point where human consumption and waste production exceed nature`s capacity to create new resources and absorb waste.2 Last but not least, the useful term of carrying capacity is defined as “The maximum number of individuals that, a given environment can support indefinitely, without detrimental effects to environmental state”.3
Now that you are aware of the basic terms,let’s take a look at the Ecological Footprint chart.
This chart compares the ecological footprints of several countries. Clearly, the country of Bangladesh has the smallest ecological footprint and the explanation is very simple. First of all, talking about development, Bangladesh is not a major industrial country. What’s more since the GDP is only at we would say that Bangladeshi do not have a lifestyle that affects the EF, such as expensive machinery and technologically advanced equipement.On the other hand, when it comes to both Australia and United Arab Emirates we can see a very big EF. This phenomenon lyes upon the fact that both are extremely modernised countries with extremely high development levels and citizens that have accordingly “advanced” lifestyles including luxurious goods that “come out of fashion” rapidly and are therefore replaced in a fast pace by new one. However, recycling is not always plausible or chosen as a “solution” after the use of goods and the madness of human beings trying to have more and more expensive,advanced and extravagant computers,cars,buildings and anything else one can imagine leaves a dramatic impact on our environment.
GDP and Ecological Footprint.
The higher the GDP,the hight we can say the ecological footprint can be. When people leave in a highly developed society and can afford a more “grandiose” way of life, the more they negatively affect the environment. Therefore, the general picture of the country’s ecological footprint gets worse.
My county’s graph. (Greece)
In the graph above we can se that the per-person resource demand Ecological footprint raises year per year, the biocapacity keeps falling. The more we exploit the environment the less biologically productive land and water we have. The graph is a very strong proof that we are heading towards a very shady future and should be definitely taken into consideration by everyone.
Personal Ecological Footprint
Having taken the “test” on http://www.myfootprint.org/ , I was a little shocked by my results. More specifically, if all human beings were like me, we would need another 1.29 earth. In matters of comparison, of course Bangladeshi seem much more frugal than me; yet, I could easily be a resident of Australia that we have already discussed and I would be quite modest in the Arab Emirates. My EF is higher than this of the average Greek as well. Having seen this results I will surely make an effort to minimize my EF, taking also into consideration the information of the website.
Sometimes human beings can act extremely egoistically and want more than they can get. The ecological footprints around the world vary and usually, the more developed a country is the more it damages the environment (however,there are always exceptions to the rule). I believe that we should all be aware our EF and become more sensitive in matters of ecology. Maybe if we all knew how big our fault is we could become more aware and willing to change.
1.Wackernagel, Mathis and W. Rees. Our Ecological Footprint. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1996.
2.”Online Encyclopedia.” Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.encyclo.co.uk/>.
3.”CONCEPT FROM THE DISCIPLINES OF HUMAN GEOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY.” N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2012. <http://www.unepscs.org/Mangrove-Training/11-Carrying-Capacity-Mangrove-Management.pdf>.