How much of the earth does each of us use? Of the 51 billion hectares of the earth’s surface, only 12 billion of it are “biologically productive”, meaning that less than a quarter at 23% of the earth’s surface provides resources and treats waste for over six billion people. Each living person has less than two hectares to use in his lifetime. This calculation does not consider the needs of plants and animals that number at least another 10 million. Nor does it consider future generations.
Human population continues to grow but the earth’s biologically productive surface does not. In fact, it continues to shrink due to urbanization, deforestation, poor agricultural practices and global climate change, to name a few.
Even politics play a role in causing the earth’s shrinking resources. Never mind that world leaders don’t all agree that climate change exists. Right now, the Amazon forest, called the earth’s lungs, continues to burn amid inaction from political powers both from within Brazil and outside it. Western countries created an alliance in NATO to protect its territories and yet none exists to exert efforts at protecting and preserving natural resources.
And so, it is incumbent upon non-governmental advocacy groups, educational institutions and private individuals to do their share to preserve living earth that could be passed on to future generations. Take this simplified eco-footprint calculator to see how much ecological impact you make on a daily basis and what small changes to your lifestyle you can implement to help keep our living earth healthy. After all, earth is the only place we call home.
An ecological footprint is a measure of how much of the Earth’s biologically productive land and water is needed to produce our food, material goods, and energy, and to absorb our waste. In the 1990s, sustainability gurus Mathis Wackernagel and Bill Rees developed a test to calculate how much of the earth’s resources each of us uses in order to give us a concrete understanding of our own personal impact on the Earth’s systems.
By taking the eco footprint test below, you will see if you are a heavy-footed Planet Polluter or a light-stepping Planet Protector. If you score more than two hectares, you may have to assess the sustainability of your own lifestyle and take steps to reduce your demands on the earth’s resources to save the planet for future generations. It is no longer enough to feel dismay and talk about climate change. The time to act is now.