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The Ecological Footprint
The ecological footprint was created by Mathis Wackernagle and William E. Rees in 1990, as a measure of human demand on the natural resources and ecosystems of earth. Results generally represent the footprint size of a certain population or activity, which is the amount of land and water needed to support a population or activity, based on the amount of resources used and waste generated compared to resources replaced and waste absorbed.

The ecological footprint is now widely used by scientists, governments, agencies, organizations, institutions, businesses and individuals. Today, development and standardization of the method is coordinated by the Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003 and its 40 partner organizations. Results are expressed in global hectares of biologically productive space for world average productivity. In 2002 for example, humanity's ecological footprint exceeded global biocapacity by 0.4 global hectares per person, or by about 23%. It now takes 1.5 years for the earth to regenerate the resources we use in 1 year, and the US has the largest carbon footprint of any country in the world. Such results are a clear indication that the natural resources of earth have been and continue to be depleted as the earth is continually polluted, overpopulated, and natural resources are wasted.

Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

Man has been polluting themselves and the earth almost since the beginning of man, affecting all around them. As human population, pollution, overconsumption and excessive waste grows, so too does greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, global warming, ozone depletion and other negative environmental effects of our lifestyles. We all play a role in these problems, which means we can also choose to become a part of the solutions -- such as for example:
  • Calculating the ecological footprint of yourself, households, businesses, organizations, cities, regions, nations, or even all of humanity, so as to assess, compare, address, analyze, manage, change, and thus reduce the negative environmental impacts we have on our planet.
  • Reducing, recycling and reusing helps to prevent, reduce and manage pollution, runoff, the accumulation and dispersal of waste (from overconsumption, heating, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transportation and other human activities), and thereby helps to reduce environmental degradation of the planet.
  • Energy conservation and the use of green, renewable energy sources, either directly by producing your own or indirectly by purchasing 'green electricity' from the grid where possible.
  • Fuel conservation, green fuels and vehicles can greatly reduce the need for fossil fuels and petrochemicals.
  • Water conservation and natural, healthy, eco-friendly methods of water filtration, purification, storage and distribution.
  • Natural, healthy, earth friendly methods of disease prevention and treatment.
  • Natural, healthy, green construction methods and materials, and better land use practices.

Generally, the more there are living green, conservative, practical, sustainable, frugal, self-sufficient, independent lifestyles, the more individuals, households, regions, nations, and the world, can reduce our ecological footprint.

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Art gallery and homestead of Sue Robishaw and Steve Schmeck, creating and living a sustainable life in Michigan