What is the ecological footprint and how to reduce it?

What is the ecological footprint and how to reduce it?

Nowadays, the term ecological footprint is a trend. However, there are still some people who are not very clear about what it implies. Would you like to know more about it?

From Greenuso we have made this article with the intention of letting you know in detail what the ecological footprint is and what your contribution can be to help reduce it. So, with small changes in your daily life you will contribute to the necessary balance of our environment.

join us and you will know the size of your ecological footprint!

What is the ecological footprint. Definition

Whether we like it or not, we all leave a mark on the environment with some of our daily practices during the course of our lives. The degree or level of impact of human actions on the environment can now be calculated through an indicator.

This sustainability indicator is what is known as the ecological footprint. So, we can define ecological footprint as the indicator that determines the impact that society leaves on the ecosystem by producing what it consumes.


The term ecological footprint became known in the 1990s. When Canadians Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees published their book Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth.

They related ecological footprint to the land it takes to produce resources and the time it takes for the environment to absorb the damage from that production activity. Thus, we realise that the processes to produce everything we eat, wear or use affect the environment, making us also responsible for the damage caused.

How the ecological footprint can be measured

The most common methodology used to calculate the ecological footprint index is based on the measurement of global hectares per inhabitant per year. This calculation estimates the amount of productive land required to meet the needs of a person, a country or even the entire planet.

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To calculate the environmental footprint , the following elements are usually taken into account:

  • The area needed to supply the necessary food.
  • Hectares of forest required to compensate the environment for the CO2 produced by energy consumption.
  • The underwater space needed to obtain the products of the sea.
  • Hectares required for livestock grazing and animal feed.

The measure obtained will indicate how sustainable our actions are for the environment. Ideally, a demand for a product or service should be maintained over time in relation to the natural regeneration of the waste produced.

If, on the other hand, demand exceeds nature’s ability to regenerate waste, then the ecological footprint is negative. Because the excessive use of natural resources will make it unsustainable in the long term.

Solutions to reduce the ecological footprint

Fortunately, there are many actions you can take to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive contribution to the environment.


Here are a few of them.

Raise awareness

To make lifestyle changes that will reduce the negative impact on the environment, we need to be aware of the damage we are doing to the environment. Thus, we will start to monitor every daily action that contributes to the reduction of the ecological footprint.

For example, repair your appliances and extend their useful life before throwing them away, or avoid buying things you don’t really need, just because they are fashionable. Before throwing something away, first think about what new use you can give it and recycle it.

Save energy

The negative impact of air conditioning and heating on the environment is staggering. So, try to set the thermostat on these appliances as low as possible and reduce your ecological footprint.

Never leave chargers or other electronics plugged into the mains when not in use and use energy-saving light bulbs. Also, try drying your clothes in the sun rather than in the tumble dryer – it’s good for the environment and your wallet.

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Sustainable transport

The CO2 that pollutes the environment and causes the greenhouse effect comes mainly from car engines. Therefore, use mostly public transport or arrange carpooling with neighbours and friends.

Even if the distance to be covered is not very long, you can walk or cycle, the most sustainable ways of getting around. This habit will also be very beneficial for your physical health.

Reduce waste production

Statistics show that every human being generates an amount of waste equal to ten times his or her own body every year. To reduce this number we must avoid the use of disposable products.

Likewise, start using eco-friendly cloth or paper bags instead of plastic bags for your shopping. Use thermal containers to carry water from home instead of buying water bottles. In short, avoid using plastic, and if you can’t avoid it, recycle it properly.

Sustainable food

The production, packaging and distribution of food is a process that can cause a lot of damage to the environment. So, buy local and seasonal food, to avoid the pollution that would be caused by transporting it. In addition, you will boost the local economy, and get fresher food that is free of preservative chemicals.

Likewise, avoid buying processed foods, such as juices, as it is tastier and healthier to eat fruit in its natural state.

Save water

This vital liquid is scarce in many parts of the world. To use only the water you need, you can use the shower instead of the bathtub to take a bath.

Other measures to implement are: avoid constant leaks in the taps, get into the habit of brushing your teeth with the tap turned off, reuse the water from the washing machine to clean the patio, car, etc.

We hope that this information about the ecological footprint will encourage you to make the necessary changes in your lifestyle to reduce your footprint. On our Greenuso website you will always find more tips to help you recognise your impact on the environment and support sustainable living.

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