Ecological Footprint

The ecological footprint is a way of measuring the environmental impact of a person’s lifestyle. It estimates the amount of land or space needed to provide the resources to support that standard of living.

Things like the size of your house, your energy use, the kinds of food you eat and the transport you use all affect the size of your ecological footprint. The amount of space available per person on earth is 1.8 global hectares, but it’s shrinking because of overpopulation, land degradation and pollution. In total, our world’s footprint is 2.2 global hectares per person, so we’re basically living beyond our means.

The average Australian ecological footprint is 6.6 global hectares. This means that we would need about another three additional planet earths for all of the world’s population to have the same standard of living as that enjoyed in Australia.

Source WWF Living Planet Report 2006

The term ‘ecological footprint’ was first coined in 1992 by William Rees, a Canadian ecologist. Together with Mathis Wackernagel, Rees published the book Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth in 1995.

EPA Victoria has a series of online footprint calculators.

You can reduce your footprint by adopting greener living and consumption habits, such as reducing your fuel consumption, avoiding food waste, switching to GreenPower and simply buying less stuff!