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Ecological Footprint

( Article Type: Explanation )

An ’ecological footprint’ is a description of the ecological impact a company or group of people have on the earth. The bigger the footprint the worse the impact. It is a complicated measurement, which includes information such as population numbers, technology used, energy consumed, water used, use of natural resources, etc.

For example, a group of San in southern Africa who live off the earth have a very small ecological footprint, whereas a large manufacturing plant in an industrial area in Europe would have a much bigger ecological footprint.

The concept of the ecological footprint can be used as a sustainable development indicator to show how people or industries are working towards minimising their negative impacts on the environment. The principles of sustainable development require us to make our individual and collective ecological footprints as small as possible.