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El Centro College

ENVR 1401 Online
Ecological Footprints
1. Students will calculate their individual ecological footprint.
2. Students will determine their future ecological footprint after making alterations to their lifestyle.
3. Students will compare the ecological footprints of the U.S. and other nations.
4. Students will predict future trends in ecological footprints.


Like all species, humans need certain resources to survive. However, humans consume
resources not only for survival, but also for comfort, luxury and prestige. Whereas nonhuman
species generally must obtain their resources from within their ecosystem, in contrast, humans
have devised ways to remove resources from other ecosystems to satisfy their needs and
desires. Societies are not equal in their ability to extract, transport, process, manufacture and
use resources. They also have different philosophies and cultural perspectives regarding their
desire to utilize resources beyond basic needs. Thus, there is a question of equitable distribution
of resources among human societies as well as between humans and other species.

The area of productive land required to provide resources and assimilate waste to meet
consumption needs is referred to as the ecological footprint. The ecological footprint can
exceed carrying capacity; for example, take a look at the United States. The U.S. can maintain
more people than available resources can support because resources are extracted from other
countries. The earth is finite, therefore some countries must have an ecological footprint
smaller than its carrying capacity. Some populations must live near the subsistence level,
whereas others can live in a high degree of comfort. A method to determine and compare
footprints is to examine the per capita amount of resource use. We calculate the per capita
resource use by dividing the amount of available biological resources and waste assimilation
needs by the population. (Wagner, T. and Sanford, R. 2010. Environmental Science: Active Learning Laboratories and Applied Problem
Sets. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York.)

Activity 1: Your Ecological Footprint

Please Highlight or type answers in a different color.

How many planets (Earth) does it take to support your lifestyle?



1. Go to the Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator.
2. Start the footprint quiz by selecting your location (USA).
3. Make an “Avatar” of yourself.
4. Answer each lifestyle question as accurate as possible. Do NOT use the “faster answers”

and explore support your lifestyle? Draw the diagram scenarios to reduce your footprint below.7 Earths How many global acres would take to Go back and edit your footprint. run the simulation again and record the impact it had on your ecological footprint. . edit your Footprint by making CHANGES to your lifestyle.Results (feel free to erase this diagram. Activity 2: Changing Your Lifestyle Procedure Now. List the changes you have made to your lifestyle below. take a screenshot or pic & insert your results diagram here) Table 1: Your Ecological Footprint How many planets (Earth) are needed to Draw your ecological footprint breakdown: provide enough resources to support people (Color coordinate your graph) if everyone lived like you? Draw the Earths 2.

Why do you think eating animal based products affects your footprint? Explain. water. and lands. lifestyle? Conclusion 1. I think using and eating animal-based products affects carbon footprint because the huge resources using to produce this product such as power. According to Worldwatch Institute. . 51 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. take a screenshot or pic & insert your results diagram here) Table 2: Impact on Your Ecological Footprint How many planets (Earth) are needed Draw your ecological footprint to provide enough resources to breakdown: (Color coordinate your support people if everyone lived like graph) you? Draw the Earths How many global acres would take to Were any significant results seen from support your lifestyle? Draw the the changes you made to your diagram below.Changes Made: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Results (feel free to erase this diagram.

. What is ecological overshoot? 3.footprintnetwork. 3. do you think this is changing? Explain.php/GFN/page/footprint_basics_overview/ Hypothesize the growth trends of the ecological footprint and biocapacity prior to 1960. describe and explain the two potential ecological footprint models for the year 2030. http://www. Why do you think eating processed. Using the “Overshoot Day” graph.2. Use this link http://www. http://www. Describe the growth of the ecological footprint of the U. Answer the following questions about the United States.footprintnetwork. 6. With the rise of environmentally friendly behaviors.php/GFN/page/world_footprint/ to answer the rest of the questions for this lab. owning a home has always been a goal that most people strive to achieve. 2. 5. Regardless of it being a status symbol. packaged and not locally grown food affects your footprint? Explain. 4. etc. (red and green lines). Activity 3: Global Ecological Footprints Procedure To learn about the ecological footprints of the world and specific countries click on the overview link. Again using this graph. Give the basic definition of an ecological footprint and what it from 1960-2011. sense of permanency. .org/content/documents/ecological_footprint_nations/ Open the interactive map & click on the United States. describe the growth of the world ecological footprint from 1960-2011.footprintnetwork.S. Move to the section titled Ecological Wealth of Nations by following the link.

Tell which country you picked. 16.S. in the year 2005? Find Chile on the interactive map and answer the following questions: 13. Why such variation? 1973: 1983: 2011: 9. or Japan? 15.S. When will Japan’s biocapacity and ecological footprint equalize? 12. Find Japan on the interactive map and answer the following questions: 10. How does Japan’s ecological footprint compare to its biocapacity in general? 11.. & 2011 in Global Hectares per Capita. 1983. . What do you think are two major factors that account for an individual in the United States’ ecological footprint (in hectares per person)? 8. list the ecological footprint for a U. ________________ Explain their graph and predict the future course of the graph. Predict the course of this graph for the next 20 years (2011-2031) for Chile. Predict the course of this graph for the next 20 years (2011-2031) for the U. How does Chile’s biocapacity compare to its ecological footprint overall? 14.S. citizen in the following years- 1973. 17. Estimate the average ecological footprint (in global hectares per capita) for a resident of Chile from 1961 to 2005. How does a Japanese citizen’s ecological footprint compare to someone from the U. Using the graph. Pick any country on the interactive map and answer the following question. 7. What do you think this says about Chile’s long term sustainability compared to the U.S.

Bonus 1: Check out the graph for New Zealand (two islands southeast of Australia). Predict the future trends of this graph. Explain the graph. Hypothesize as to why it looks like it does. Bonus 2: Relate what you have seen of ecological footprints to the Environmental Impact Equation (I = P x A x T) .