How Many Earths Do You Need? Essay

Submitted By jbxstud
Words: 536
Pages: 3

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, an ecological footprint is the impact of human activities measured in land and water used in the production of the goods needed to sustain a certain lifestyle. In sustainability terms, it is a comparison of what people consume compared to what they produce. Knowing an ecological footprint is important for understanding how one begins to live sustainably because it can give a maximum value for what that person is currently consuming. This maximum value is derived from multiple components of living a standard lifestyle.
The components of an ecological footprint include carbon footprint, food footprint, housing footprint, and goods and services footprint. The carbon footprint includes activities such as transportation, energy consumption, and energy saving. Food footprint includes amount, and choice in fresh vs processed food. Housing includes not only area and size of homes, but choices in furniture and water conservation. Goods and services footprint is a general observation of consumerism. The global average is a point value of 3.1 and it ranges from 15.99 at the United Arab Emirates to .6 in Bangladesh. America is in second place at 12.22. The more developed countries have the income and metropolitan consumerism to encourage over consumption. Most underdeveloped countries put more
emphasis on self sustaining economic endeavors which leaves no room for trade. A developed country that is a great example of the comparison between developed and underdeveloped is Australia.
As an island in the Pacific Ocean, Australia is a prime example of a locked land resource. In an Ecological Economics journal in 2001, Australia was fully analyzed for its footprint using data collected in the 1990’s. At this time Australia had a ranking of 5.0, and currently it is ranked at 8.49. The current rating puts them at 7th in the world for largest footprint. The continent was analyzed for its land disturbance, energy usage in comparison to energy production, and import export comparisons. Australia is ranked top 15 for most of the major carbon footprint issues including CO2 emissions, emissions per capita, and waste generation. The