Skip to main content

Measure Your 'Ecological Footprint' Online

How many football field-sized plots of land does it take to support you or your employees each year? Think there are enough resources to go around? Measure your ecological footprint and get the grim facts online.

The nonprofit group Redefining Progress has unveiled an upgraded Web-based Ecological Footprint Quiz calculator, which measures an individual's impact on the planet. The calculator is available at:

The 13-question Ecological Footprint quiz includes questions on individual food choices, transportation use and housing. The answers are tallied to determine the Ecological Footprint for an individual living in the United States. Footprint calculations are based on 1997 United Nations statistics, which are the most current.

Redefining Progress' calculations show that the average American needs about 31 acres to support his or her level of resource consumption. An acre is about the size of a football field without the end zones.

"If everyone on the planet lived like Americans, it would take six planets to support our rate of consumption," said Mathis Wackernagel, Redefining Progress sustainability program director. "These dramatic numbers indicate why change is necessary to preserve our resource base and curtail extreme overuse of natural resources."

The Footprint of Nations 2001 report, released Tuesday by Redefining Progress, compares the ecological impact of 52 large nations, which are inhabited by 80% of the world population. The report suggests that humanity has already exceeded the Earth's biological capacity by more than a third.

Many nations run even more significant ecological deficits. According to the calculator, the United States' ecological deficit exceeds 50%.

More on this topic