Ecological footprints

Ecological footprints - Eco-Libris glossary


Ecological footprint definition

The concept of Ecological Footprint was coined by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees in 1993. It is a resource accounting tool that answers a simple question: How much of the Earth’s resources (natural capital) we use?

Ecological Footprint measures various elements of resource consumption such as materials, water, food and energy, as well as waste disposal, into a single measure. The Ecological Footprint is expressed as the area required to support the lifestyle of a person, household, area, country and all of humanity.

Today, according to the Global Footprint Network, only 4.5 acres of biologically productive land are available to every human being on the planet and humanity’s Ecological Footprints are over 25% larger than what the planet can regenerate. In other words, it now takes more than one year and three months for the Earth to regenerate what we use in a single year.


More sources: 

  1. Global Footprint Network -
  2. An interview at TreeHugger with Mathis Wackernagel of Global Footprint Network -
  3. How can I reduce my Ecological footprint? -
  4. One Planet Budgeting: making sustainability real with the ecological footprint – presentation of  at Goggle Tech Talks, December 6, 2006 -
  5. 101 Tips for Reducing Your Ecological Footprint -   

Ecological Footprints on YouTube:

Mathis Wackernagel: The Ecological Footprint


Back to Eco-Libris green glossary main page


Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2007 Eco-Libris. All rights reserved.