With talk of Earth Overshoot Day each year, it’s worth looking at the ecological footprint of each country.

An ecological footprint is a number that expresses the number of Earths (in terms of planetary resources used and consumption rate of natural resources) each country uses throughout the year based on how the population lives.


一個生態足跡可能為一個服務similar purpose as other sustainability related measurements, such asEarth carrying capacityandplanetary boundaries.

Summary – Ecological Footprint



This is assessed by looking at the consumption rate of a country vs the productivity of that country from specific natural resources

These resources are usually listed as agricultural land, fishing grounds, built up land, forest area and carbon demand on land

一些測量也考慮到ability to absorb and handle waste from consumption – such as carbon emissions

How An Ecological Footprint Is Calculated & Expressed

An ecological footprint is calculated for countries most commonly, but can also be calculated for a city or specific region

Once consumption rates per capita and productivity rates from resources have been obtained, results can be expressed in global hectares, or ‘the number of Earth’s’ used per country

Risk Profiles For Each Country


Some variables that can impact a risk profile can include how a country uses it’s resources, and also whether they source resources internally or whether they have to import resources from other countries


In a very general way – an ecological footprint can be used alongsideplanetary boundary預測未來潛在生態和可持續性風險的估計

A specific environmental concern for the future when looking at ecological foot printing and environmental boundaries might be that the global cropping footprint might exceed the planetary boundary for land clearing

Limitations With Using An Ecological Footprint Calculation




Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot day is the day in the year where the world or one specific country has used up one Earth’s worth of natural resources – the earlier in the year it happens – the more unsustainably a country might be using it’s resources

A general trend is that some developed countries are using far more resources per capita than some underdeveloped countries

Since the 1970’s especially, the average for Overshoot day has been coming earlier in the year, but, the last few years and even the last decade have slowed considerably


There might be two main components to an ecological footprint:

1. The ecological assets required to produce the natural resources a population or country consumes. There’s the production of resources, and also the consumption of resources by a population to consider here.

2. The ability of a population or country to absorb the waste it creates

Ecological foot printing can be one tool used to measure the impact humans have on sustainability and also the environment and it’s systems.

Explanation Of Ecological Footprinting

“生態足跡”是研究人員看著多少土地,海洋和其他自然資源來生產人們消費的東西...... [和]這是[測量人類在地球上的影響的方式]

[Answers are expressed in] global hectare[s], [which are] defined as a biologically productive hectare with world-average bioproductivity.



Ecological Footprint accounting measures the demand on [nature, and also the] supply of nature.

On the demand side, [it] 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 also] 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.







This means that for the four Earths we would need if everyone consumed like an American, more than two-and-a-half of those would be needed just to absorb carbon dioxide.




– The consumption rate of natural resources by a specific population

- 當特定的自然資源可能開始達到一定程度的稀缺程度或有限的供應

– What level of consumption a specific population, or individuals within a population, can sustain.Overpopulation can play a part on one side of the equation,但是,人口的消費率或消費習慣,這就是為什麼一些發達國家與發展中國家較少的人可以消耗更多人均資源

– How the environment is dealing with waste and other side effects of consumption like pollution or emissions

– When an environment will reach a certain level of degradation

[The key questions an ecological footprint is looking to answer are] how much planet is available per person and how much planet do we use per person


Which Countries Have The Highest Ecological Footprint, & What Is The Global Average?

The United States and Australia are two countries that currently rank near the top of two separate lists for the countries that ‘use the most Earths’ to sustain how their populations live.

In 2018, the following amount of Earths were needed if the population lived like the following countries:

美國 - 5

澳大利亞 - 4.1

South Korea – 3.5

Russia – 3.3

Germany – 3

Switzerland – 2.9

UK – 2.9

France – 2.8

Japan – 2.8

Italy – 2.6

西班牙 - 2.3

中國 - 2.2

巴西- 1.8

印度 - 0.7



… this figure of seven global hectares [is used to calculate] that it would take four Earths – or to be precise, 3.9 Earths – to sustain a population of seven billion at American levels of consumption [seven billion is the number of people who currently live on Earth]

[The US is] ranked fifth among countries with a population of one million or more.

Kuwait comes top with 8.9 global hectares (5.1 Earths), followed by Australia (4.8 Earths), the United Arab Emirates (4.7 Earths) and Qatar (4.0 Earths).



Ecological Risk Profile Of Each Country


Level of risk can depend on factors like how they use resources from their own country, or if they depend on resources from other countries.


What Ecological Foot-printing Might Indicate About Future Environmental Concerns

The footprint can be used to identify some potential future environmental concerns


[Some research] compared future ecological footprints with research about planetary boundaries, [and] they found that our global cropping footprint is likely to exceed the planetary boundary for land clearing between 2025 and 2035.

“If you have what we’ve got slow incremental changes in things so the planetary boundary, that’s informed by that group of research, they were saying we can’t have more than a 15 per cent increase in cropping areas … of the global ice-free land surface …

“Generally, we don’t want more than 50 percent of land turned into crop land [but, …] The trend is going that way so that’s the concern.

“We haven’t reached it yet but it’s likely that it won’t be long before that is reached [so …] This is our opportunity to heed that warning and introduce policy … and that’s the point of the research.”


Potential Limitations Of Calculating & Using An Ecological Footprint As A Measurement

An ecological footprint:

– It doesn’t take into account certain factors

– The data used is lacking and insufficient in certain areas and for different countries

- 某些做法的可持續性都有未知數

– Some estimations may be inaccurate

It’s definitely not a perfect or comprehensive measure.

It might be used in conjunction with other measurements and indicators to get a more well rounded picture on how an environment is dealing with the needs and waste products of a particular population.


[The measurement takes into account land, sea and water, and also how many Earth’s worth of sea and land we would need to absorb the emissions we produce, but it doesn’t take into account every type of resource, or every type of waste pollution]


Researchers just don’t know how sustainable some agricultural practices are, and therefore to what extent resources are being overused.


Earth Overshoot Day, & Where Earth Overshoot Day Is Trending

What Earth Overshoot Day Is


The earlier it happens into the year, the more quickly the world is consuming the resources it is producing, and this is one measure of sustainability.

You canview the numbers for both the world, and different countries here(在


We can see from the world graph that we have moved from 1 Earth in 1970, to 1.7 Earths and Earth Overshoot Day occurring on August 1st in 2018.

Since 2011 though, that number has been fairly steady.


You can find the calculator and other information in the resource below



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5. over-day :-today-the-earth-goes-into-the-red/8770040


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