Ecological Footprints & LCA

27 September 2011 was Earth Overshoot Day

On September 27, humanity reached an unfortunate milestone. We demanded all the ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food – that nature can provide this year, according to data from Global Footprint Network, a research organization that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what.

Since the mid 1980s, humanity has been demanding ecological services faster than the planet can regenerate them, a condition known as ecological overshoot. We now use in less than 10 months the amount of resources it takes 12 months for nature to generate, according to Global Footprint Network data.

“It’s a simple case of income versus expenditures,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. “For years, our demand on nature has exceeded, by an increasingly greater margin, the budget of what nature can produce. The urgent threats we are seeing now – most notably climate change, but also biodiversity loss, shrinking forests, declining fisheries, soil erosion and freshwater stress – are all clear signs: Nature is running out of credit to extend.”

Our Carbon Footprint (as calculated by Global Footprint Network, the amount of land and sea it would take to absorb all the CO2 we emit) has increased 1000% since 1961. Carbon dioxide emissions now account for over half of human demand on nature. We are now emitting much more carbon dioxide than the natural ecosystems of the planet can absorb; thus it is building up in the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Ecological Footprint, Life Cycle Analysis and other EcoSTEPS Impact Mapping services such as input-output analysis and supply chain management may be particularly useful to your organisation.

Ecological Footprint is a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology. By measuring the Ecological Footprint of a population (an individual, a city, a nation, or all of humanity) we can assess our overshoot, which helps us manage our ecological assets more carefully. Ecological Footprints enable people to take personal and collective actions in support of a world where humanity lives within the means of one planet.

EcoSTEPS is pleased to be an Endorsing Partner of the Global Footprint Network

EcoSTEPS is also a collaborating partner with Sydney University’s Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) group.

Life Cycle Analysis
Take a look at our case study work with University of NSW for the Australian Greenhouse Office.

Our connections and experience allow EcoSTEPS to offer a wide range of ecological footprint consulting services.

Find out how EcoSTEPS can help you, please contact us.


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