Create The Good Life - Simple and Slow Living by Design

Ecological Footprint

Ecological Footprint (EF) measures how fast we consume resources and generate wastes compared to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate new resources. In this way the EF indicates what we need to do in order to live in balance with natural systems. It can be calculated for an activity, an individual, a family, a city, or a nation. This allows us to compare the difference in environmental impacts between individual lifestyles, between nations, or between biking versus driving.

The Ecological Footprint is very valuable for creating resource use goals and making decisions about how to reduce our negative impacts in terms of waste and pollution. The EF also offers a larger perspective in which we can see our own consumption compared to others, and indicates what our fair share of global resources is. (We once asked a group of about 10 sustainability consultants what framework they used for making personal decisions and every one of them said the Ecological Footprint.)

footprint in sand
  • Wikipedia page on Ecological Footprint
  • You can answer questions about your life style to calculate your personal Footprint.
  • Global Footprint Network (founded by one of the creators of the tool, Mathis Wackernagel) oversees the ongoing development of the EF calculator and promotes it as an accounting tool for governmental bodies and nations around the world.
  • Happy Planet Index is an indicator of well-being in relation to resources use. It rates countries by combining the quality of life statistics like longevity with happiness study data and the EF, showing which countries, on average, are living well while using less.