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INTRODUCTION Youve probably heard of the Ecological Footprint - the metric that allows us to calculate human pressure on the

planet and come up with facts, such as: If everyone lived the lifestyle of the average American we would need 5 planetsIt examines the benefits of ecological accounting, introduces some of the most important Footprint findings, and addresses provocative questions: Do we fit on the planet? How can the Footprint foster sustainable human development? How do carbon emissions contribute to humanitys Ecological Footprint Humanity needs what nature provides, but how do we know how much were using and how much we have to use?The Ecological Footprint has emerged as the worlds premier measure of humanitys demand on nature. This accounting system tracks, on the demand side (Footprint), how much land and water area a human population uses to provide all it takes from nature. This includes the areas for producing the resource it consumes, the space for accommodating its buildings and roads, and the ecosystems for absorbing its waste emissions such as carbon dioxide. These calculations account for each years prevailing technology, as productivity and technological efficiency change from year to year. The accounting system also tracks the supply of nature: it documents how much biologically productive area is available to provide these services (biocapacity ). Therefore, these accounts are able to compare human demand against natures supply of biocapacity.

World Footprint Do we fit on the planet? Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.

Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. And of course, we only have one. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. The result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change. These are just a few of the most noticeable effects of overshoot. Overshoot also contributes to resource conflicts and wars, mass migrations, famine, disease and other human tragediesand tends to have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who cannot buy their way out of the problem by getting resources from somewhere else. Ending Overshoot The Earth provides all that we need to live and thrive. So what will it take for humanity to live within the means of one planet? Individuals and institutions worldwide must begin to recognize ecological limits. We must begin to make ecological limits central to our decision-making and use human ingenuity to find new ways to live, within the Earths bounds. This means investing in technology and infrastructure that will allow us to operate in a resource-constrained world. It means taking individual action, and creating the public demand for businesses and policy makers to participate. Using tools like the Ecological Footprint to manage our ecological assets is essential for humanitys survival and success. Knowing how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what is the first step, and will allow us to track our progress as we work toward our goal of sustainable, one-planet living.

Earth Overshoot Day In 8 Months, Humanity Exhausts Earth's Budget for the Year Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures humanitys demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering. Global Footprint Network estimates that in approximately eight months, we demand more renewable resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year. In 2012, Earth Overshoot Daythe approximate date our resource consumption for a given year exceeds the planets ability to replenish fell on August 22. This year, it will likely come even earlier. We will then go into ecological overshoot, and make up the deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day, a concept originally developed by Global Footprint Network partner and U.K. think tank new economics foundation, is the annual marker of when we begin living beyond our means in a given year. While only a rough estimate of time and resource trends, Earth Overshoot Day is as close as science can be to measuring the gap between our demand for ecological resources and services, and how much the planet can provide. Humanity's Consumption of Resources The Cost of Ecological Overspending Throughout most of history, humanity has used natures resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to absorb our carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earths budget. But in the mid-1970s, we crossed a critical threshold: Human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce. According to Global Footprint Networks calculations, our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide is now

equivalent to that of more than 1.5 Earths. The data shows us on track to require the resources of two planets well before mid-century. The fact that we are using, or spending, our natural capital faster than it can replenish is similar to having expenditures that continuously exceed income. In planetary terms, the costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. Climate changea result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceansis the most obvious and arguably pressing result. But there are othersshrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. The environmental and economic crises we are experiencing are symptoms of looming catastrophe. Humanity is simply using more than what the planet can provide. Methodology and Projections In 2011, Earth Overshoot Day came a few weeks later than it did in 2010. Does this mean we reduced global overshoot? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. Its not possible to determine with 100 percent accuracy the day we bust our ecological budget. Adjustments of the date that we go into overshoot are due to revised calculations, not ecological advances on the part of humanity. Based on current assumptions, Global Footprint Network data now suggests that since 2001, Earth Overshoot Day has been moving three days earlier each year. As Global Footprint Network methodology changes, projections will continue to shift. But every scientific model used to account for human demand and natures supply shows a consistent trend: We are well over budget, and that debt is compounding. It is an ecological debt, and the interest we are paying on that mounting debtfood shortages, soil erosion, and the build-up of CO in our atmospherecomes with devastating human and monetary costs

Footprint for Nations In todays world, where humanity is already exceeding planetary limits, ecological assets are becoming more critical. Each country has its own ecological risk profile: Many are running ecological deficits, with Footprints larger than their own biological capacity. Others depend heavily on resources from elsewhere, which are under increasing pressure. In some areas of the world, the implications of ecological deficits can be devastating, leading to resource loss, ecosystem collapse, debt, poverty, famine and war. The Ecological Footprint is a resource accounting tool that helps countries understand their ecological balance sheet and gives them the data necessary to manage their resources and secure their future. Learn about the work we are doing and how we have engaged with 57 nations through our Ten-in-Ten Campaign. National governments using the Footprint are able to: Assess the value of their countrys ecological assets Monitor and manage their assets Identify the risks associated with ecological deficits Set policy that is informed by ecological reality and makes safeguarding resources a top priority 5. Measure progress toward their goals It is almost certainly the case that countries and regions with surplus ecological reservesnot the ones relying on continued ecological deficit spendingwill emerge as the robust and sustainable economies and societies of the future 1. 2. 3. 4. What can the Footprint tell us about biodiversity? While not a direct measure of species populations, the Ecological Footprint provides an indicator of the pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity by measuring the competing level of ecological demand that humans place upon the biosphere.

Global Ecological Footprint data show that humanity is using resources and producing CO2 emissions at a rate 44 percent greater than what nature can regenerate and reabsorb. This gap, known as ecological overshoot, results in the depletion of the natural capital that all species (including our own) depend on for their livelihood. It also results in the accumulation of carbon dioxide that leads to climate change, with profound implications for ecosystems and the species they support as well as for our societies well being and economic stability. Humanitys Ecological Footprint has grown 80 percent over the last four decades. The greater the gap between human demand and natures regenerative capacity, the more pressure there will be on the resources other species need to survive, and the more perilously biodiversity will be under threatLooking at the various consumption sectors that go into the Ecological Footprint can provide us with a glimpse of the human activities that are drivers of biodiversity loss. Meeting the Biodiversity Challenge A recent Science journal report to which Global Footprint Network was a contributor provided a stark assessment that the worlds governments had not met the target set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and had instead presided over enormous declines. In October 2010, the parties to the CBD met in Nagoya, Japan to decide whether to adopt a new biodiversity target and new indicators for the post-2010 era. At the conference, the BIP presented a list of strategic goals, including means, milestones and indicators, for achieving the goals set forth in the CBD. Ultimately halting species loss and enabling biodiversity to thrive will require bringing human demand for ecological services into balance with what nature can renewably supply. By advancing decision-making that takes resource limits into account, Global Footprint Network is working to promote a world where the reality of resource constraints is central to the national and international policy debate, and where decision-makers understand the risks that

resource limitation and declining biodiversity pose to our societies wellbeing and economic stability

he Ecological Footprint and Biodiversity The threats facing the rich array of plant and animal life on the planet seem greater than at any time in modern history. Problems such as climate change, water shortages, overharvesting and habitat disruption symptoms of human pressure on the planets finite resourcesare driving down wildlife populations worldwide. In 2002, under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) the leaders of the worlds governments committed to significantly halting the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. They adopted a suite of indicators, brought together as the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP), to provide information on biodiversity trends and assess progress toward their target. Global Footprint Network is a BIP Key Indicator Partner, and the Ecological Footprint has been officially adopted by the CBD to be included among its biodiversity Data and Results The National Footprint Account 2011 developed by Global Footprint Network, provide comprehensive data on humanitys demand on nature. They track how this demand compares across several over 200 countries, territories, and regions, and how it relates to the planets biological capacity to meet these demands. Graphic country time trends for tracking per-person Ecological Footprint and biocapacity since 1961 are available in the COUNTRY TRENDS table to the right. Each country includes a link to a country factsheet comparing changes between the past and current editions. The annually updated National Footprint accounts undergo continuous improvement under the advice of the National Accounts Review

Committee. The latest method is described in the Calculation Methodology Paper. Obtaining Data The National Footprint Accounts results are available under license for a wide variety of applications including educational, research and commercial purposes. To view a sample of the data tables, you may click here to view the Data Tables from a previous Edition of the National Footprint Accounts, which show the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity for almost 150 nations. Updated National Footprint Account results from the 2011 Edition are available as follows:

Customized datasets are available for finance-related applications. Click here to see a description. Please write to for more information. Financerelated applications include use by those in the finance and insurance industries including investors, rating agencies, data providers, index providers, fund managers, insurance companies, etc.) For non finance-related purposes, please use our online request form: Request for Dataset of National Footprint Account Results. Obtaining National Footprint Account Workbooks National Footprint Accounts Licenses are available for both commercial use and non-commercial review under license. Free Learning Licenses are available for personal and non-commercial purposes. Please see out NFA License descriptions if you are interested in ordering a National Footprint Account license. Additional Resources The Guidebook to the 2008 National Footprint Accounts describes the implementation of the Ecological Footprint methodology as presented in the 2008 edition for the National Footprint Accounts. It provides an in depth description of each part of the 2008 NFA workbook, along with detailed descriptions of calculations and data sources. An updated version for the 2012 edition is coming soon.

The Ecological Footprint Atlas 2010 explains the purpose behind Ecological Footprint accounting, addressing research questions and basic concepts, as well as the underlying science of the calculations. Giving examples of how the Ecological Footprint has been applied. For the technical reader, the Atlas includes more detailed notes about calculation of the results, explains recent advances to enhance the consistency, reliability and resolution of the National Footprint Accounts, and reviews the evolution of the National Footprint Accounts methodology CASE STUDIES Community of Andean Nations The CAN and its member nations Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru began working with Global Footprint Network in early 2009 on an initiative to maintain one of the CAN regions richest and most important assets: its natural resource base. The initiative seeks to demonstrate the interdependence between a countrys natural wealth, its economic health and, ultimately, the well-being of its people. As part of the initiative, the CAN launched a video (in Spanish; see below) that explains this lofty concept in terms almost any family can relate to. Its as if a family needed to adjust expenditures because of having another child, the video explains, yet nevertheless, in spite of these forces, the family continued to spend more money. Now, however, the video says, the CAN is working to address that situation in particular Ecuador, which has adopted specific Ecological Footprint reduction goals. The CAN has also released a preview version of a report on the Ecological Footprint of the CAN countries that it will release with Global Footprint Network in 2010. The teaser, which introduces people to the concept of the Ecological Footprint and provides a snapshot of the data, can be downloaded here in English and Spanish. The longer report will provide an in-depth look at the ecological trends in each of the

member countries, along with perspectives and commentary by incountry experts. Philippines The Philippines is on track to adopt the Ecological Footprint at the national level. In 2011, the government began exploring ways to incorporate the Ecological Footprint into its proposed National Land Use Act for 2012. The legislation, a comprehensive national land-use policy, will protect areas from haphazard development and plan for the country's use and management of the country's physical resources. The government will continue to work with Global Footprint Network in 2012-2013 to make the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to adopt the Footprint at the national level. See the recently released Philippines Ecological Footprint Report, "A Measure for Resilience." Costa Rica The Ecological Footprint and biocapacity data for Costa Rica were included for the first time in the countrys annual State of Nation report, an overview of national social, economic, environmental and political issues. In it, Steffan Gmez, the reports chief researcher, attributed the countrys growing Footprint to its increased consumption and pollution. The Ecological Footprint was one of several indicators used in the report to provide information relevant to public policy on sustainable human development. Argentina The Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Industrial (INTI) have created a new interdisciplinary working group: the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity Program Argentina, to validate and provide data to measure the ecological footprint at the national and sub-national (provincial, departmental and/or municipal) levels. CONCLUSION

The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth, currently estimated to be 6.96 billion by the United States Census Bureau as of July 1, 2011. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year. Moderate UN scenarios suggest that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us. The Ecological Footprint has emerged as the worlds premier measure of humanitys demand on nature. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resource it consumes and to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions, using prevailing technology. each country has its own ecological risk profile: Many are running ecological deficits, with Footprints larger than their own biological capacity. Others depend heavily on resources from elsewhere, which are under increasing pressur