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How To Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

Updated on September 24, 2011
MSantana profile image

She loves to write about science, the natural world and peoples questions about life. She has degrees in Biology, botany and Ecology.

This picture from the University at Buffalo Libraries, Earth Day 2010, represents how the health of planet Earth depends on us--as much as we depend on the planet to survive.
This picture from the University at Buffalo Libraries, Earth Day 2010, represents how the health of planet Earth depends on us--as much as we depend on the planet to survive.

By Mirna Santana

The ecological footprint is a rough measure of the human impact on planet earth. The ecological footprint can be estimated for individuals, business, organizations, nations, or the globe. This estimate serves to guide people about their use of resources such as land, energy, or food. This estimate also helps people to visualize the many steps involved in the processing of commonly use products.

I invite you to take a minute and check the labels in your clothing. You will see that the different items may have been manufactured in different countries. These items are also made of natural or synthetic materials that have an impact on the earth system. Have you wondered where your t-shirt or your shoes come from or where they will end?

As the amount of resources utilized by humanity differs even among individuals living at the same household, the ecological footprint serves mostly to make our impact more tangible.

The ecological footprint help us become aware of the global impact of our patterns of resource utilization. The global estimate of what would be the impact on the planet if every other person in the planet behaves like us, make us conscious of how our choices impact the global resources. Visualizing our impact using an ecological footprint estimate may help us shift gears towards a less impacting way of living.

To calculate your ecological footprint I recommend any of the following organizations:

1.The Global Footprint Network

2. Ecological Footprint by the Center of Sustainable Economy

3. The Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator

4. You can also calculate your carbon and food footprint by visiting my other hub What is your Food Footprint

After you calculate your ecological footprint, I encourage you to learn about ways you can decrease your impact. Then go ahead and take some actions to decrease your footprint. Do what works for you and then a little more. Baby steps or big steps, all count!

Some ways you can decrease your footprint include: Becoming more energy efficient; avoiding the use of cars as much as possible; eating low on the food change; decreasing the amount of meat and dairy products and using environmentally friendly home and personal care products. Eating organic or no spray foods can also help the earth and other species. Learning about how your resources are produced, where do they come from and how other people or species may be impacted by their production also helps to be a conscious consumer. Being aware of how you participate and interact with the rest of the environment is part of our task as citizens of planet Earth.

For more ideas see my hub Ways to help Nature.

Lets celebrate our shared home!

© 2011 MSantana


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    • Modibas profile image


      9 years ago from Vilnius, Lithuania, Europe

      Oh I will read those, just don't really have enough time for that at the moment :)

    • MSantana profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      Mobidas: thank you very much for your comments. I wish more people see themselves as animals/mammals who are part of the ecosystem. Indeed our species is very aggressive user of resources. I prefer to think that we can use our writing and leadership skills to help each other and the planet.

      Perhaps you may like to read my other post of Earth Faces where I present other vision of the planet.

    • Modibas profile image


      9 years ago from Vilnius, Lithuania, Europe

      Hey nice hub. But even though I respect Your concern for the planet and everything else I prefer to look at everything as the natural order of things. Humans are nothing more that another one of many mammals living on the face of the earth. And just like every other life form we will increase in numbers till there is no more resources left for us to maintain those numbers. Then we will either disappear completely or our numbers will be greatly reduced, thus leaving a nice niece for other life forms to grow, evolve and follow our path. That is the way evolution works after all. (Of course there are some ways we could survive this certain way of extinction but then the scenario would slowly repeat itself). Well sorry if sounds mean or something like that, it is just the way I see things.


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