Monday, September 22, 2008

What does your ecological footprint tell us?

Not much. That's the conclusion I come to in a forthcoming comment in Ecological Economics.

The footprint has become the standard tool for some researchers and the media to describe our impact on the environment, but it really doesn't say as much about our consumption as one might think. I highlight in the comment some well known issues of the footprint that seem to be widely ignored by those that use it.

The worst part is, the footprint appears to be negatively correlated with a much bigger problem: land degradation. Using the ecological footprint then not only obscures some important issues, it tells us the opposite of what we want to know about sustainability.

So what's the solution I come up with? Stop using worthless indecies and go back to the heart(s) of the issue: greenhouse gas emission and land degradation.

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