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Ecological Footprint

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Ecological footprint
The planet Earth is the only planet that supports and sustains human life. The human activities carried out on the planet are gradually making the planet unfavorable to live on (Perman 81). Ecology involves the study of relationships between living organisms and their usual natural environment. This paper will define ecological footprint, present a deep understanding of the ecological footprint and show how it applies in measuring the peoples’ effects to the environment. The paper will also explain how the ecological footprint can be used in making choices that go in line with people’s lifestyles. The principles of ecological footprint date back to literatures related to geography, ecology and economics. However, the idea of the earth’s ecological footprint has been present since early 90’s (Wackernagel 35). William Rees in 1992 produced the first academic publication on ecological footprint. The concept of ecological footprint and calculation criteria was later developed by Mathis Wackernagel as a PhD dissertation under the supervision of Rees at British Columbia University in Vancouver. Originally, the concept was called the appropriated carrying capacity. Rees later came up with the ecological footprint term in order to ensure that the concept is accessible. The ecological footprint in the planet has transpired as the earth’s vital gauge of the individual’s demand on the environment and the entire nature. It is used in measuring the amount of land and area under water that the human population requires. The ecological footprint can be calculated by taking into consideration the entire biological materials that consumed and the total biological wastes that are produced annually by an individual.
Ecological Footprint measure Ecological footprint measures human demand of the Earth's ecology. The ecological footprint is a harmonized measure of natural capital demand against the planet's ability to regenerate. The footprint represents the total productive earth and the sea area required in supplying the resources that people consume, and to incorporate the related waste. Through ecological footprint assessment, it can be estimated on the earth size required in supporting humanity on the planet. In the year 2007, the earth’s ecological footprint estimate was 1.5 planet Earths. This ecological foot print means that humanity is using the earth’s ecological services at a rate which is 1.5 times than the Earth can replenish them (Perman 66). The methods used in measuring and calculating the ecological footprints vary significantly. However, new standards have been developed in making the results more consistent and comparable. Ecological footprint seeks to answer a particular research question. What is the amount of the biological land capacity required by a population or human activity? The ecological footprint in answering this question measures the quantity of land that is biologically productive and the total amount of water area a person, country, city, region, or entire humanity population uses in producing resources that it can consume and also absorb carbon dioxide gas emissions emitted with regards to the present technology and other resource management operations. The biologically productive land on the planet include the forests, croplands and the fishing grounds while excluding the glaciers, the open ocean and the deserts. Ecological footprint uses global hectares as the global average productivity ratio for all the land that is productive and the area under water in a given year. Current studies in compliance to ecological footprints use global hectares as a standard in measurement. This has made the ecological footprint be globally comparable, the same way financial assessments employ one currency.
Calculation of Ecological Footprint Ecological Footprints is usually calculated for individuals, nation, and other activities (for example manufacturing of a product). The ecological footprint for an individual is usually calculated by taking into account the total biological materials consumed and the total carbon dioxide emitted by the individual throughout the a given year. The materials and wastes are then translated individually into corresponding global hectares. The amount of materials consumed (tonnes per year) by the individual is divided by the specific land or sea area yield (annual tonnes per hectare) after converting to global hectares. The total of global hectares required in supporting the consumption of resource and carbon dioxide emitted for the individual result in n individual’s total ecological footprint. The ecological footprint comprising of a group of people (a city or nation) is the total of the ecological footprints of all individuals in the nation or region. The ecological footprint for any activity such as the production of goods and services can also be obtained. This is obtained through summing of the total ecological footprints of the materials consumed in a year and the carbon dioxide that is emitted by the activity.
The ecological footprint is used in measuring the extent to which humankind is using natural resources. According to Perman the average world population has an ecological footprint of 2.6 global mean hectares while the biologically productive land and water area per capita is only about 2.05 global hectares (73). This shows that mankind has already exceeded the global biological capacity by 31% he is living unsustainably depleting the natural capital stock. In conclusion, key opportunities are available in reversing the current degradation trends. This will include the creation of resource efficient infrastructure and cities and through campaigning for better practice of the green technology and innovation.

Works Cited
Perman R. Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. Essex: Pearson Education
Limited, 2009.
Wackernagel M. Our Ecological Footprint:Reducing Human Impact on . Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1995.…...

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