Ecological footprint

What it measures

Dimension: Biotic resources

Ecological Footprint measures the pressure for resources each person, group, or human activity places on the planet. The Ecological Footprint indicator tells us how much biologically productive land space (e.g. forests, farm lands, fisheries, etc.) a population needs in order to provide the resources being used, and to absorb the waste being generated by that population. One unit of productive land space is known as one global hectare. In 2014, Canada’s Ecological Footprint measure was 8.28, meaning Canadians required 8.28 global hectares per person in order to meet their demand for resources and to absorb their ecological waste. Globally, humans are using resources faster than the earth is capable of regenerating them; on average, the resources used in one year take 1.5 years to regenerate. Canada’s environmental capacity to regenerate resources (biocapacity) in 2014 was 14.6 global hectares per person, meaning our biocapacity still exceeds our Ecological Footprint. Unfortunately, the gap between our Footprint and our biocapacity has narrowed each year. This means that Canadians are getting closer to consuming natural resources at a rate that is faster than our environment is able to regenerate them. 

Why this matters

Canadian use environmental resources in all areas of their lives. We need to ensure we are using only as many resources as our environment is able to sustainably provide; otherwise, we may find that the resources needed for our food, shelter, work, and leisure may no longer be available.

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