EU countries are ones with highest ecological footprints. What can be the solution?
Reports show that all of the 28 EU countries have local ecological deficit and are living beyond “one planet” levels. Among EU countries Belgium has the highest ecological footprint, requiring an equivalent of 4.3 Earths if everyone lived like an average resident of Belgium. In contrast, Romania has the lowest ecological footprint in the EU, at an equivalent of 1.4 Earths, which is still more Earths than we have. In fact, if everyone on the planet lived the average lifestyle of a resident of European Union, humanity would need 2.6 planet Earths to sustain our demand on nature.
The consequences of our lifestyle, despite being explicitly evident as air pollution, deforestation, water contamination, and etc. , can also be measured by evaluating our ecological footprint. There are several ways to talk about our ecological footprint. One way to measure it is to determine the amount of planet Earths that would take to support our well-being. The world-average ecological footprint is 1.5 Earths.
The ecological footprint varies in different parts of the world. If a territory does not have enough ecological resources, then there is a local ecological deficit and it is an ecological debtor territory. Otherwise, it has an ecological remainder and it is called an ecological creditor territory. By the way, if you are interested to calculate your personal ecological footprint, just visit World Wide Fund for Nature website and fill in the proposed test.
It is critical now for us to reduce our ecological footprint. If we do not take quick action, it might already be too late to save our planet. As a famous proverb puts it, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” In spite of depleting our future generations from the lives that they deserve, we can let them breathe fresh air under the warm rays of sun and swim in clear lakes. In order to achieve this, we have to reduce our ecological footprint to a possible minimal value.
We can reach this goal if we change our lifestyle to a more environmentally-friendly one. We can carry our everyday activities in a way that does little or no harm to the planet, e.g. we can use as little water as possible to brush our teeth or take a shower, we can be careful to switch off electronic devices when we are not using them, and we can buy food sparingly so that we do not need to throw part of it away. In other words, we can do our best to keep humanity alive, to keep the Earth alive. It’s the only planet that we have.