Ecological Footprint

Corporations are composed of individuals. An increasing sensitivity of individual citizens to environmental concerns can change the political and economic climate for the whole of society. Individuals must demonstrate strong commitments to environmental ethics in their personal choices and behaviors. The concept of an ecological footprint has been developed to help individuals to gauge their personal environmental impact.

Read the ecological footprint introduction.

1. The environmental impact imposed by our lives is a results of three different factors, as discussed in the class (I = P x A x T) (see lab manual). What have you observed about these three factors in the world in which we live? population, affluence, and technology

2. What trends can you identify about changes in these factors in the U.S. and developing countries in the last half century?

3. What changes in these factors are likely to occur in the next half century?

4. Do you agree more with ‘exemptionalists’ or ‘ecologists’ in this debate and why?

5. Do you think the concept of carrying capacity applies to humans as well as other animals? Explain whether yes or no and why.

6. Does the concept of ecological footprint developed by Wackernagel and Rees relate to the Ehrlich Equation? Explain.

7. How does your footprint compare to the average ecological footprint in the U.S.? Explain difference using comparison for all categories – carbon, food, goods and service, and housing.

12. In what ways do you expect your Ecological Footprint to change (or remain the same) during the next 10 years of your life? Why?

13. In the lab you discussed footprint of several countries. Why do you think the ecological footprint for people in Bangladesh is so small and why is it so large in the U.S. Explain your answer in details.

14. Write a summary of what you learned and reflect on the implications for our society if we persist on our present course of consumption. Using the concept of the Ehrlich Equation, identify pathways to take to make constructive changes in your society’s environmental impacts and reduce its Ecological Footprint.

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