Our ecological footprint
In Victoria we consume more than our fair share of the planet’s resources. Our impact on our environment – our ecological footprint – is a measure of how much water and productive land we need to support us.
Low-income countries, for example, have an average ecological footprint of 0.8 global hectares. On average, however, we Victorians use 6.8 global hectares per person. The problem is that there’s not enough planet to go around. If everyone in the world lived the way we do, we’d need more than four planets to support us. We’ve only got the one.
Two big contributors
Two of the biggest contributors to our ecological footprint are the food we eat and the energy we use. The most-resource intensive foods are meat and dairy products. Your average serve of meat can be responsible for 17,000 litres of water. This is because the cow has been drinking water and burping methane all of its life, before making it to your plate.
Food also uses resources when it is packaged, processed and transported. You can reduce your personal ecological footprint just by eating less meat – especially beef – and by eating food which has minimal packaging and is produced locally.
Energy has a significant impact on our planet because of our dependence on coal – one of the least environment friendly ways of generating electricity. In fact, 95 per cent of Victoria’s electricity is from brown coal.
Energy from renewable resources, like the wind and sun, is a viable alternative. Using energy more efficiently and switching to GreenPower can help you reduce your ecological footprint. Our ecological footprint is also affected by things like the types of houses we live in, how we get from A to B, and the goods and services we consume.
What impact are you having on the environment?
To find out, why not measure your ecological footprint. You can use the Environment Protection Authority’s calculator and then use some of the suggestions in our ACT section to reduce it.
Try it now
Victoria’s Ecological Footprint, EPA Victoria and the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability. It's pretty big
Focus on Food, Government of South Australia, 2008. Check it out
Water Footprints of Nations, UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education, 2004. Read on