Ecological Footprint
Ecological Footprint

Talking Points
  • Estimate of resources consumed
  • Relates economy to carrying capacity
  • Not a measure of quality of life, measure of life style

One of the measures I mentioned earlier was the ecological footprint. This is a measure of how much of the earth's resources we are using. The amount depends upon consumption and is very different for different countries and for different people living in a particular country. For example,

A person who walks or takes public transportation has a smaller footprint than someone who commutes fifty miles in a sport utility vehicle that gets 15 miles to the gallon.

A vegetarian has a smaller footprint than someone who has steak every night.

A family of 4 living in a 1500 square foot energy efficient house has a smaller footprint than a family of two living in a 2000 square foot, poorly insulated house.

A house or office park with a small amount of green lawn has a smaller ecological footprint than a house or office park with acres of lawn that is treated weekly with chemicals and watered all summer to keep it emerald green--not to mention the cost savings of having a smaller area to maintain.

(Note: it is helpful to refer back to the quality of life components that the participants mentioned at the beginning of the workshop. Most people do not say that quality of life depends on having many possessions or using lots of energy. Quality of life does not have to be resource intensive.)
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Copyright © 1998 Maureen Hart. All rights reserved.