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How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle?

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How many planets do you use? Many of us know what is the Ecological Footprint. It’s a very simple index, created by Mathis Wackernagel in the 1990s and then developed by the Global Footprint Network,  which tell us how many resources (measured in global hectares average)  we use to satisfy our needs (in terms of food,  dressing, transport, timber, building etc….). Compared with Earth’s Biocapacity (the amount of resources Earth can regenerate every year), we can say that now we use an amount of resources equivalent to 1.7 planets Earth. How can this Overshoot be reduced? The Global Footprint Network allows each of us to calculate his own Ecological Footprint, telling us how many planets will be needed if everyone lived according to our lifestyle.

 
 
 
What is the Ecological Footprint?
 
The Ecological Footprint measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions. The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of six categories of productive surface areas: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land.
 
A city, state or nation’s Biocapacity represents the productivity of its ecological assets (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land). These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions.
 
Both the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity are expressed in global hectares. By comparing the Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity we can say if a community/a Country/ the World is in a condition of Ecological Deficit (or overshoot – when the Ecological Footprint exceeds biocapacity) or Ecological Reserve (when the Ecological Footprint is lower than Biocapacity).
 
 
How many planets would be needed if everyone lived as…..
 
Take an average American lifestyle. If everyone on Earth lived according to that lifestyle, the equivalent of 5 planets Earths will be needed. Live like the Italian people and 4 planets Earth will be needed. The Ecological Footprint varies from country to country, and, inside a country, from region to region, and it even vary from one person to another one. Of course, systematical factors (general lifestyle, infrastructural system etc…) tend to influence each individual footprint inside a country.
 
 
Calculate your own Ecological Footrpint
 
The following quiz has been elaborated by the Global Footprint Network. It allow you to find out your own Ecological Footprint, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to tread more lightly on the Earth.
 
The quiz takes into account the following factors: 1) Diet; 2)Dressing/recycling; 3) House; 4)Travel.
 
Select your location on the map below to start taking the Footprint Calculator Quiz. The calculator requires Flash animation that is unavailable on some tablets such as iPads and smart phones.
 
Here the link:
 
Here my quiz result.
 
 
Fonte: Global Footprint Network
 
 
What part of my Footprint can I influence?
 
Some of each person’s Ecological Footprint is dependent upon choices they make in their own life, such as how much they drive, recycle, and purchase new products, and some of it is their per person share of their societies’ infrastructure, which is referred to as “services” in our Footprint calculator. The first part can be influenced directly. The second part, “services,” is equally critical to living within the means of one planet, but must be influenced through more indirect action such as political engagement, green technology and innovation, and other work toward large-scale social change.
 
 
Global Footprint Network Campaign
 
In order to lower our Ecological Footprint, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) focuses on 4 factors: 1) Food; 2) City planning and urban development; 3) Empowering women so as to keep population growth under control; 4) Energy (Decarbonizing the economy).
 
GNF is also sure that anyone of us can play his part in helping reduce the Ecological Footprint. This is why it has started the campaign: “How will YOU #movethedate of Earth Overshoot Day?”. Here you can choose one or more of GFN’s pledges to #movethedate and create a sustainable future. GFN is launching a new pledge each week.
 
 
Conclusions
 
Have you calculated your own Ecological Footprint? Too many planets…There are some daily choices (diet, transport, recycling) which can help you achieve higher standard of living, as well as, reducing your Ecological Footprint. Companies can sell us only what we really want, we are the driver of consumption, we can help human being more sustainable with our own daily choices….

 

Read more on Long Term economy, the unique model able to create a real sustainable economy.


 

 
 
Dario Ruggiero,
LTEconomy, 20 June 2017
   
 
Sources
 
Global Footprint Network
 
Global Footprint Network, The new Ecological Footprint Data Explorer
 
 
Other articles
 
Dario Ruggiero, "Overshoot Day: quest’anno il 2 Agosto", LTEconomy
http://www.lteconomy.it/it/news-it/notizie-della-settimana/overshoot-day-quest-anno-il-2-agosto
 
Dario Ruggiero, "The Ecological Footprint in Italy: 4 Italy are needed to match our Ecological Footprint!", LTEconomy
                                                http://www.lteconomy.it/en/news-en/notizie-della-settimana/the-ecological-footprint-in-italy-4-italy-are-needed-to-match-our-ecological-footprint
 
Dario Ruggiero,  "Intervista (con Dario Ruggiero) sull'impronta ecologica e la Long Term Economy", LTEconomy
 
Dario Ruggiero,  "Focus – all about the ecological footprint," LTEconomy
 
Dario Ruggiero, "Interview with Mathis Wackernagel", LTEconomy
 
 

 

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