The planet provides the needs of the human species, which has some basic needs such as food, shelter, heating. So how much does humanity consume? The answer to this question is called the "Ecological Footprint".
The concept of ecological footprint is a method developed to calculate the ecosystem balances that are deteriorated as a result of human activities and to determine the amount that needs to be returned to the ecosystem.
In other words, it calculates the “number of worlds” that will be required for a sustainable future in the face of both the resources that people demand from nature and their disruption of the natural balance.
How is Ecological Footprint Calculated?
The ecological footprint basically aims to calculate the resources demanded by a particular population from nature and the natural area that will be required in the future. The reason for making these calculations is;
It is to find the size of the productive biological area consumed and damaged at the planetary level, the productive land and water areas required for waste disposal, the biocapacity used by a given population and the number of planets required for the continuity of life.
The calculation formula on a national scale is as follows:
Ecological Footprint (ha*) = Consumption x Production Area x Population
*Ha: Hectares = 10.000 m²
Let's take a look at the variables in the formula:
1. Consumption; refers to the extent of use of goods.
For example, the weight of the meat consumed in kilograms, the measure of the consumed water in liters, the unit value of the electricity used, the weight of the consumed timber in tons. A separate calculation is made for all these specified groups.
2. Production area; It is the productive biological area required to sustainably meet a given amount of consumption. 5 different biological productive areas have been determined in the world:
- farming areas
- seas and
- built up areas
3. Population; It refers to the number of people consuming natural resources in a given area. Calculations can be made at any scale, from a single person to the number of people who will affect an activity, from a community to a city, a region, a people, or all of humanity.
According to the “Living Wandering Report” published in 2010 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF for short), the ecological footprint per capita is 2,7 kha, while the biological capacity is 1,8 kha. In other words, even by looking at this calculation alone, we can understand that the world's resources will be sufficient only if consumption decreases by 2010 compared to the average level of human activities in 0.33.
According to the report published by the Global Footprint Network in 2014, the total ecological footprint of humanity was 1.7 Earths. In other words, human consumption was 1.7 times faster than nature's ability to regenerate itself.
Ecological Footprint Examples
Let's consider a jar of cherry jam. A space is required for the production company for the production, processing and storage of sour cherry and other raw materials used in the production of sour cherry jam. The markets where these jams are sold also occupy a place. In addition, a certain area is needed for the elimination of waste materials released during the production and distribution of sour cherry jam. The sum of all these areas included in the calculation is called the ecological footprint that a jar of jam leaves on the world.
What is the Difference between Ecological Footprint and Carbon Footprint?
The World Wide Fund for Nature/WWF divides the ecological footprint into the following components:
- Carbon footprint
- farmland footprint
- forest footprint
- Structured footprint
- Fishing field footprint and
- grassland footprint
When we look at these components, we see that the carbon footprint effect is more than the effects of all other components. The carbon footprint, which accounts for 60% of all damage, is also the fastest growing factor. The scale that shows the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by each individual living on earth with the products they buy, heating, electricity consumption or the vehicles they use for transportation is defined as the carbon footprint.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Ecological Footprint?
The carbon footprint, which is the biggest culprit of the ecological footprint, emerges as a result of burning fossil fuels. Our biggest supporter for decarbonization is renewable energy sources that reduce dependence on fossil fuels and improving our consumption / production habits. Sufficient and good quality accessible water is an indispensable element that must be protected for health, productivity and livability. It is necessary to use natural resources in a balanced way. We need to use agricultural areas, grasslands, forests, wetlands and seas, which are designated as production areas, knowing that they are limited. Population growth is a factor that directly affects the ecological footprint. A city, region, country, or the whole world has a human capacity to handle. This limit, which has already been exceeded, poses a great threat for the coming years.
Renewal of natural resources, reducing waste, increasing the efficiency of production activities, reducing the resources demanded by production from the environment, while reducing carbon emissions at the stage of providing raw materials, is a very important step to expand recycling policies. Local governments prioritize ecological values in urban planning; One of its main duties is to protect the habitats where animal, plant populations and beneficial organisms live, to follow policies such as bioenergy use, recycling studies, and promotion of public transport. Ecological consciousness is one of the basic values that should spread from the individual to the family, from the city to the society, from countries to the world.
Günceleme: 21/10/2022 11:09