The “ecological footprint”
is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It is a standardized measure of demand for natural capital that may be contrasted with the planet’s ecological capacity to regenerate and represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply the resources a human population consumes, and to assimilate associated waste. The units for ecological footprint are global hectares (gha).
- Global Footprint Network (GFN) every year presents a report on ecological footprint which maps consumption and requirement of natural resources to sustain it. The lifestyle adopted in developed countries is unsustainable and it will require five Earths to fulfill their lifestyle demands.
On the other hand, the Indian lifestyle is sustainable where one earth is sufficient. The Earth Overshoot Report has indicated that the Ecological Footprint of developed countries ranges from 8 to 4 whereas India is at 0.9.
“Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems
can regenerate,” according to GFN. “This is akin to using 1.75 Earths.”
The “carbon footprint” is the amount of carbon being emitted by an activity or organization. The carbon component of the ecological footprint converts the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the amount of productive land and sea area required to sequester it and tells the demand on the Earth that results from burning fossil fuels.
The carbon footprint is 54% of the ecological footprint and its most rapidly-growing component having increased 11- fold since 1961.
Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network. It is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity (the number of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world’s ecological footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources for that year), and multiplying by 365.