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What are ecological footprints?

Ecological footprints measure the


extent to which humans are using the
Earths bioproductive capacity
Units are global hectares
A hectare of land with average bioproductive capacity (for agriculture, forest,
nutrient cycling, energy production, etc.)
A hectare = 2.5 acres

(1 acre is about a football field between the 5 yard lines)


(1 hectare is 2 complete football fields with endzones)

Ecological footprints measure Earths


carrying capacity for humans
In 2010, the biosphere had about 11.5 billion
hectares of biologically productive surface
(about 1/4 of the total planet)
2 billion ha of ocean (the continental shelves)
9.5 billion ha of land

Current estimates indicate that humans are


over-shooting the Earths carrying capacity by
25-50%
To sustain the current carrying capacity, we
could need 11/2 Earths!
But, population growth and increasing
development means that we are increasing our

So, where do we stand?


There are 11.5 billion hectares of bio-productive
land, and it is declining
There are about 7 billion people, and increasing at
about 1% per year
There are currently 1 2/3 hectares per person, and
most ecologists believe this is insufficient to
support a significant quality of life for the average
person on Earth
If we continue down the path we are on, there will be
less than 1 hectare per person by 2050

Lets consider the simple French fry

What are its


connects to the
environment?
What impact does it
have?

How did the fry get to the restaurant?


Suppliers
Truck
Producer
Truck
Processing Plant
Truck
Distribution Center
Truck
Bobs Burger Shop

http://www.rprogress.org/

What impact did its journey have?


Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

Fertilizers

Suppliers

Machinery

Pesticides
Irrigation

Truck

Seeds
Machinery

Producer

Fossil Fuels
Irrigation

Fossil Fuels
Hydropower
Hydroelectric dam
Hydropower

Truck
Processing Plant

Distribution Center

Hydroflourocarbons
Freezer

Machinery
Food waste

Truck
Freezer

Fossil Fuels

Truck
Bobs Burger Shop

http://www.rprogress.org/

Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

Animal Feed
Fossil Fuels
Packaging

What impact did these impacts have?


Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

Fertilizers

Runoff

Suppliers

Machinery
Loss of
Biodiversity

Pesticides
Irrigation
Loss of
Biodiversity

Truck

Seeds

Producer

Machinery
Air
Pollution

Fossil Fuels
Hydropower
Hydroelectric dam
Hydropower

Truck
Processing Plant

Damage
To Ozone

Hydroflourocarbons

Fossil Fuels
Irrigation
Fossil Fuels
Machinery

Air
Pollution

Food waste
Truck

Freezer

Air
Pollution

Distribution Center

Truck

Freezer
Bobs Burger Shop
http://www.rprogress.org/

Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

Animal Feed
Fossil Fuels
Packaging

Solid
Waste

How might all of this affect the


Earths systems?

Forests

Fossil Fuels
Fertilizers

Runoff

Fossil Fuels
Suppliers

Loss of
Biodiversity

Seeds
Machinery

Air
Fossil Fuels
Pollution
Hydropower
Hydroelectric dam
Hydropower

Truck
Producer
Truck
Processing Plant

Loss of
Biodiversity

Damage
To Ozone

Hydroflourocarbons
Freezer

Forests

Fossil Fuels
Irrigation
Fossil Fuels
Machinery

River

Cropland
Air
Pollution
Forests

Food waste
Truck

Freezer

Air
Pollution

Machinery

Pesticides
Irrigation

Forests

Distribution Center
Truck
Bobs Burger Shop

Fossil Fuels

Fossil Fuels

Animal Feed

Grazing Land

Fossil Fuels
Packaging

Built-up Land

Solid
Waste
Built-up Land

http://www.rprogress.org/

Weve considered only the potato

Consider all the other


parts of your meal
the other foods
the utensils
the napkins
the condiments
the drinks

There are multiple


environmental impacts
involved in these as well