Ecological Footprint for the ACT: Our Challenge

Ecological Footprint for the ACT: Our Challenge

Canberrans' impact the global environment more than people in most places on earth.

The ecological footprint, expressed in global hectares, measures the amount of land required to support a community’s demand for goods and services and absorb its waste including greenhouse gasses.

Reports on the ACT’s ecological footprint have been produced every four years since 1999. The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment has used these reports in ACT State of the Environment Reports (SoERs) since 2003. However, there is always a time lag between the data collection, footprint report and publication of the ACT SoER. 

The most recent report on the ACT’s ecological footprint uses 2011-12 data and was published in conjunction with the ACT State of the Environment Report 2015.  The data show that in 2011-12, per person, our ecological footprint was 8.9 global hectares per person (gha/person) and was:

  • about three and a half times the global per person.average
  • above the average per person ecological footprint of other Australians (8.2 gha/person).
  • in total, about 14 times the land area of the ACT.

Although our footprint per person was shown to have moderated slightly (perhaps as a result of the global financial Crisis in 2008), the messages in this report have, unfortunately, indicated a continuing trend of increasing impact on our ecological systems and their capacity to sustain us.

Individual, actions, along with community support for government sustainability initiatives are critical if we are to reduce a impact on the planet. Some positive steps Canberrans can take to ease the pressure on our earth include:

  • Repair, reuse or borrow where possible instead of buying new things.
  • Before tossing something in the bin, see if there is another use for it.
  • Buy quality goods that are efficient and will last a long time.
  • Invest in an activity as an alternative to purchasing goods, e.g  Concerts, movies, picnics.
  • Volunteer for the environment or the community instead of spending time and money on consumption.
  • Use renewable energy.

Ecological footprint summary fact sheets for the 2015 ACT SoER and 2011 ACT SoER are also available.

living sustainably

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