The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems, the amount of natural capital used each year. The footprint of a region can be contrasted with the natural resources it generates.

A common type of footprint estimates the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply the resources a human population consumes, and to assimilate the waste that population produces. At a global scale, this has been used by some ecological analysts to estimate how rapidly we are depleting limited resources, vs. using renewable resources. The Global Footprint Network, for instance, is an ecological organization that calculates a global ecological footprint from UN and other data, and publishes the result. They estimate that as of 2007, the planet uses up major ecological resources 1.5 times as fast as they are being renewed.

Ecological footprint

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“Maps are like campfires – everyone gathers around them, because they allow people to understand complex issues at a glance, and find agreement about how to help the land.”