An ecological footprint is a means of evaluating the environmental sustainability of an area. The ecological footprint measures the resources consumed in order to sustain the current lifestyles of residents. Alongside this, global and local biocapacity is also calculated to compare the ecological footprint with the available supply of resources, indicating the environmental sustainability of the island.
The ecological footprint of the Isle of Wight is first broken down into constituent components and compared with United Kingdom (UK) figures. The ecological footprint of an average Isle of Wight resident was found to be 5.10 gha per person in 2003. Although this compares favourably to the UK figure of 5.45 gha per person, since 1999 the Island’s average footprint has increased by 10% from 4.63 gha per person.
However, as with the UK, the Isle of Wight’s ecological footprint exceeds the average sustainable ‘earthshare’ of 1.8 gha per person. If everyone on the planet consumed as much as the average Isle of Wight resident we would require over two and a half planets to sustainably support global resource consumption.
Click here to view the Island’s first ecological footprint report, ‘Island State’, which analyses 1999 data.
Click here to view the Island’s second ecological footprint report, which analyses 2003 data.