UBC Wheel
Good Practice Database

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Smallest Ecological Footprint

Detailed description of the Good Practice

There are different ways of pointing out and highlighting that we are living above our means. What goes without saying in the economic context and is taught in proper bookkeeping (not to spend more than you have or to live from the interest not from the substance) equally holds true for ecological issues. The image of the ecological footprint comes in very handy to illustrate this. Today it can be found online (www.footprint.ch, www.ecofoot.org) for several cities and countries.
Based on the idea that every human being on the planet has the same right to the use of natural resources this method conveys theory but also enables the user to calculate his/her individual ecological footprint thus triggering a thinking process about how "for granted" he/she is taking the personal use of those natural resources. Even if the databases for these calculations greatly differ and are even partly superficial this presentation can lead to a constructive discussion as it operationalises the normative mission. It points to where we have to head on a global, national and regional scale in order to reconcile the use of our natural resources and human needs with the planet's ecological bearing capacity.
After explaining theoretical background behind the ecological footprint students are asked to calculate their personal ecological footprint and to bring it to class next time. This is when every student has to position him/herself in the room according to their print and explain his/her results. Next, we recommend discussing the conclusions drawn from the comparison and the reason for "large" or "small" ecological footprints

sustainable consumption
ecological education
awareness raising

Objectives of the Good Practice

to calculate his/her individual ecological footprint thus triggering a thinking process about how "for granted" he/she is taking the personal use of those natural resources.

Participants of the Good Practice

educators

Target group of the Good Practice

students
pupils
children

More Details of the Good Practice

Documentation and documents

www.footprint.ch,
www.ecofoot.org

Available files

Data sources and references

Learning for Sustainable Future
Innovative solutions from the Baltic Sea region, the Baltic University Press, 2008
Editors Liisa Rohweder
Anne Virtanen