Depiction of Ecological Footprint (13)

What are the meanings of terms Ecological Footprint (EP), Ecological Overshoot, and Carrying Capacity?


Ecological Footprint (EF) is an amount of human demand on Earth’s ecosystems. EF number shows us the amount of productive land and water which are required for the humankind’s consumption in order to produce energy and natural resources and to absorb the waste humans create. Leaving no ecological footprint would mean that humans gives back to the environment just as much as he’s taking.

Ecological overshoot is a phenomenon which indicates that humans are taking and using sources from the environment more than they’re giving back. Overshoot can cause many problems. Not only does it make a huge impact on the environment, but it also may create wars for overtaking the resources among the countries.

Carrying Capacity is represents the largest number of individuals of a given species, which can survive for a long period in particular environment. Carrying Capacity depends on limiting factors, such as salinity, nutrients, salinity, light, etc.

Following table shows EFs of several countries’ population, their GDP per capita, and the relation between these two with the world’s EF and GDP per capita


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Which meaning does the size of Ecological Footprint provide? On what does the EF depend on?


The size of an ecological footprint depends on the type of resources a particular population uses, on income (GDP), technology, and lifestyle.

A large ecological footprint indicates that the population has a high consumption of natural resources, high annual income, highly developed technology, and fast and high lifestyle and standard.

Large ecological footprint is the reflection of over usage of environmental resources. In addition to this, not only do people overuse and misuse natural resources, but they also create difficulties in nature. By saying this I refer to the incapability of nature to absorb as much waste as humans create.

A small ecological footprint provides the opposite meaning: the population doesn’t have a high consumption of resources, they’re not economically strong, the technology is not developed very much, and lifestyle differs in many ways comparing to the populations which have large ecological footprint.

 

Ecological Footprints  and GDP per capita of different countries and what do they indicate


  • Bangladesh

The EF of Bangladesh is 0.6, which is a small footprint. Reasons responsible for Bangladesh’s small footprint are highly related to this country’s lifestyle. Bangladesh is a poor country, whose GDP per capita is low. Because their income is not large, they do not spend much money, which is directly connected to the amount of consumption of the resources. As they don’t consume resources as much some other countries, they don’t produce a lot of waste. Furthermore, this country is not highly developed, technology and standard are not modernized – all these indicators contribute to small EF of Bangladesh.

  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

On the other hand, United Arab Emirates have an EF equal to 9.9.  According to the indicators mentioned above, UAE belongs to the group of large EF. UAE’s GDP per capita is high: is $18,250. From this number one can easily conclude that high annual income is one of the reasons for large EF, since it allows this country’s citizens to spend and produce waste in high measures. Moreover, UAE is one of the top countries from which the rest of the world gets oil from. Not only oil is extracted in this country, but also several more resources. The enlarged usage of natural resources consequently influences on the EF. Since UAE is successfully contributing to its economics by selling extracts from natural resources, the standard and technology are very modern, This is an additional fact which causes consequences such as large EF.

  • Australia

EF of Australia is 7.7, which is again a large EF. The GDP per capita of this country is $28,260. These numbers are related to each other, in sense that high GDP per capita is only one of the factors which cause large EF. Additionally, Australia doesn’t have much of fertile soil, and therefore farmers are over exhausting the existing useful land. Over usage of existing soil causes land degradation, which is one of the major Australia’s concerns these days. Australia’s citizens are using as much as they can from what their resources allow them. If there is something they do not use, they export it, which brings them more money and increases GDP per capita. As they’re earning more money, their lifestyle and technology have evolved and have allowed Australians to live luxurious lifestyle, not caring about the environment.

 

Relationship between GDP per capita and EF


GDP per capita is directly connected to the EF. As GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is an annual income, which creates a lot of influence on the EF. More money one country possesses the wider spectra of opportunities for spending is created. As population spends a lot of money, they’re needs are growing and more natural resources are being exhausted. The use of natural resources is one of the main indicators on which the EF is based.

 

My personal Ecological Footprint


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My EF is 2.27, which means if everyone on planet Earth would life live my lifestyle, we would need 2.27 Earths. My EF is same as my country’s EF, which means we are have large influence on our environment. On the other hand, it is much higher the EF of Bangladesh. However, it has much lower than UAE’s and much higher than Thailand’s EF.

According to Serbia’s area and population, my personal EF and EF of my country is much higher than it should be. Reasons for this phenomenon is the absence of recycling habits and over usage of natural resources.

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As far as it comes to my EF, my Housing and Carbon footprint are higher than Serbia’s average. However, my Food and Goods and Services footprints are lower than of Serbia’s population. These indicators show in which categories I make mistakes and which habits I should change in my current lifestyle. For example, some changes should be provided in my housing matters, and in my way of using the carbon as well.

 

Conclusion


The calculation of my footprint and the EFs of other countries and nations has helped me to understand the seriousness of this matter. Majority of Earth’s population is not aware of how everyday habits and lifestyle contribute to the state of environments and natural resources. Instead of creating a luxurious lifestyle, we should be more occupied by how we can adopt our needs to the nature’s offers. In other words, we are not a species that should define the destiny of other organisms. Since we’re the only species which are capable of reasonable thinking, we should use our genius minds in order to sustain the resources and everything else we use so as to provide better environment to the future generations.

References:

(1) Globalis. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu.

(2) Ecological Footprint: Center For Sustainable Economy. Retrieved March 6, 2011 from http://myfootprint.org/en/quiz_results/.

(3) Global Footprint Network. Retrieved March 6, 2011 from http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/.

(4)Ecological Footprint: Center For Sustainable Economy. Retrieved March 6, 2011 from http://myfootprint.org/en/quiz_results/.

(5)Ecological Footprint: Center For Sustainable Economy. Retrieved March 6, 2011 from http://myfootprint.org/en/quiz_results/.

(6) eHow: The Definition of Ecological footprint. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.ehow.com/about_5090820_definition-ecological-footprints.html.

(7) The Sustainable Scale Project: Ecological Footprint. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.sustainablescale.org/conceptualframework/understandingscale/measuringscale/ecologicalfootprint.aspx.

(8) What is an Ecological Footprint. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.gdrc.org/uem/footprints/what-is-ef.html.

(9) Biology Online: Carrying Capacity. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Carrying_capacity.

(10) Human Transit. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.humantransit.org/2010/03/does-highdensity-life-have-a-bigger-ecological-footprint-and-why.html.

(11) NOVA: Science In The News. Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.science.org.au/nova/087/087key.htm.

(12) Withgott, J. & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The science behind the stories. 4th Ed. San Francisco: Pearson Education.

(13) Stepping Forward (2005). Retrieved March 7, 2011 from http://www.steppingforward.org.uk/summ/fp.htm.


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