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Ecological Footprint of Consumption 2019

The Ecological Footprint of Consumption shown in this map gives a picture of each country’s and each person’s total ecological footprint. The ecological footprint has been established as a measure to quantify humanity’s impact on the natural environment. It is calculated by estimating the carrying capacity of the natural environment and comparing this to the levels of consumption and waste. It is measured in global hectares (gha) for the average biological productivity in a given year. The ecological footprint then allows to put the actual global hectares that are consumed (and wasted) into the context of the existing biocapacity. A sustainable word would need an average ecological footprint of currently 1.63 gha. With changing consumption patterns and population developments, the gap between these two has growing constantly and exceeds the biosphere’s regenerative capacity. This map shows the extent to which countries overuse the world’s natural resources, colour coded by multiples of the carrying capacity of the planet.

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Technical Notes

This map shows the land surface resized by its total ecological footprint in each area interpolated from a population grid and national-level data for each country’s ecological footprint. Each transformed grid cell in the map is proportional to the total number of people living in that area multiplied by their respective national ecological footprint measured in global hectares consumption per capita.

Data sources
This map uses data from Global Footprint Network, National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts 2019 Edition (last accessed: July 2019). Population estimates for the year 2020 are based on data from the Gridded Population of the World (GPW), v4 at 0.25 degree resolution, released by SEDAC (Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center).

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