Ecological Footprint

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Date Submitted: 11/13/2012 08:11 AM

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Government has chosen to use the ecological footprint as one of five headline measures of progress towards sustainable development in United States. This can be used to look at how close people in this region are living within environmental limits; an underlying principle of environmental sustainability. The Ecological Footprint is a resource accounting tool used widely as a management and communication tool by governments, businesses, educational institutions and NGOs to answer a specific resource question. The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of biologically productive land and sea area an individual, a region, all of humanity, or a human activity requires to produce the resources it consumes and absorb the waste it generates, and compares this measurement to how much land and sea area is available. Biologically productive land and sea includes area that

* Supports human demand for food, fiber, timber, energy and space for infrastructure

* Absorbs the waste products from the human economy.

Biologically productive areas include cropland, forest and fishing grounds, and do not include deserts, glaciers and the open ocean. Current Ecological Footprint Standards ( use global hectares as a measurement unit – which makes data and results globally comparable

There are a number of online Ecological Footprint calculators in use today. When evaluating other Ecological Footprint calculators, the most important consideration is whether the calculator is actually measuring the Ecological Footprint and not just using the term footprint as a proxy for general environmental impact. These calculators may offer interesting insights but they are not aligned with the international Ecological Footprint Standards, which were adopted in 2006 in order to ensure that Footprint studies were both credible and consistent.

In United States it is possible to reduce the ecological footprint...