Ecological Prints and Coping strategies

Ecological Footprint accounting measures the demand on and supply of nature.On the demand side, the Ecological Footprint measures the ecological assets that a given population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes (including plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure) and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of six categories of productive surface areas: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land.On the supply side, a city, state or nation’s biocapacity represents the productivity of its ecological assets (including cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land). These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions.

Footprint and biocapacity can be compared at the individual, regional, national or global scale. Both footprint and biocapacity change every year with number of people, per person consumption, efficiency of production, and productivity of ecosystems. At a global scale, footprint assessments show how big humanity’s demand is compared to what planet Earth can renew.

Strategies to cope the balance between Footprint and biocapacity  are:-

  1. Improve the bio-productivity of nature in ways that are sustainable and harmless. Bio-productive areas can be increased through reforestation and soil management. The productivity of land can be increased through management techniques like permaculture, improved irrigation, organic farming and also things like edible gardens and solar panels.
  2. Use harvested resources better by minimising waste, using energy-efficient technology and producing for local consumption. This is essentially about production.
  3. Consume less by consuming less per person, and also by reducing population over time.

To ensure sustainable development following pre conditions are to be ensured:-

  • The rate of exploitation of renewable resources should not exceed the regeneration rate.
  • Waste emission should be kept at or below assimilative capacity (waste absorptive capacity) of the environment. For instance the absorptive capacity of the environment for radioactive radiation is zero, so strong sustainability criteria suggests that no radioactive substance should be disseminated to the environment.
  • The extraction of nonrenewable resources should be consistent with the development of renewable substitutes. This condition is in line with the Hartwick’s sustainability assumption.
  • Conventional national account should incorporate the depreciation of natural resources.
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