Ecological Footprint vs Carbon Footprint
Today both the scientific and the corporate community refer to the term ‘footprint’ as a measure or an accounting tool to calculate the demand on the nature of the consumer community. The footprint assessments tracts the impacts on the resource supply by the activity of people in the past, and gauge the demand with the resource availability in the future. In this context, the most talked about tools for such a measurement are the Ecological Footprint and the Carbon Footprint. To get a better idea of how these separate gauges help calculate the demand of human activity on natural resources, we compare and contrast the effectiveness in both measures.
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It essentially measures the supply and demand of goods and services for an entire planet by assuming that the whole planetary population follows a specific lifestyle of a known person/group of people. The estimate for the ecological footprint begins with the calculation of the land, water/sea needed to support the particular Food, Shelter, Mobility, and Goods and Services needs of a person in a particular region. This estimation changes with the area that person lives. This is due to the fact that ecosystems vary in their ability to produce useful biological materials, and to absorb CO2, which is called the biocapacity. The results are given in the number of planet Earths it would take to support humanity, if everybody follows estimated lifestyle.
The carbon footprint, on the other hand, represents the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission to the environment throughout a particular period of time by a person or an organization. It takes into account the amount of GHG emitted in CO2 equivalents. This gives an idea about the impact on the planet that result from burning fossil fuels. The carbon Footprint is the rapidly-growing component of humanity’s overall Ecological Footprint; it is 54 % of overall Ecological Footprint. This doesn’t, however, mention the strive it takes to offset the effect of GHGs once released to the atmosphere. The main aim of the calculation of this is to make people reduce their carbon output by increasing their home’s energy efficiency, and burning less fossil fuel for their day to day activities.
What is the difference between Ecological Footprint and Carbon Footprint?
The ecological footprint and the carbon footprint are both matrices developed to measure the impact of routine human activity on the environment. Yet they differ in their scope, expression of impact values, and the perspective of the calculation. The carbon footprint takes into account only the activities related with green house gas emission. Those are direct methods such as fossil fuel burning, and indirect methods such as consumption of electricity. However, the ecological footprint describes all the activities a person is involved in, and the resources utilized as well as the wastage generated through the said activity. The carbon foot print gives the raw amount of carbon emission in tonnes per year as an outcome. But the ecological footprint gives values of the land and water area that is needed to replace the resources consumed. Furthermore, the carbon footprint aims to reduce the impact on the environment by reducing global warming and evading catastrophes such as climatic change. But the ecological footprint takes all problems of the environment as a whole and aims for a sustainable development.
The carbon foot print represents the most rapidly growing and most destructive portion of the ecological footprint. Reducing the carbon footprint is the foremost step in reducing the overrun consumption of resources. But to get an overall idea of the true impact, which addresses issues such as overfishing, over grazing and deforestation, the ecological foot print is required. Most importantly, statutory bodies should use both these calculators to manage their resources and secure their future.