What is France’s ecological footprint?

The ecological footprint is a tool for measuring the pressure exerted by humans on nature. It is a powerful indicator, revealing the ecological impact exerted by each country.

Measuring the ecological footprint thus makes it possible to assess the pressure that human activity places on the environment at the global level. It is also used to assess the sustainability of a way of life, on the scale of an individual, a city or a country. It is therefore a precise image of the sharing of resources at the level of these different entities. Two key concepts are taken into account in its method of calculation:

  • biocapacity, which defines the planet’s capacity to provide raw materials, to regenerate them, but also to absorb the waste produced;
  • human activity, i.e. the consumption of natural resources, but also the waste generated and the gases released by human activities.

The aim is to restore a balance between the sharing of natural resources and consumption.

The measurement of the ecological footprint

Developed by the Global Footprint Network, an independent think tank, the methodology behind it has been unanimously adopted to calculate the impact of humans on nature. To calculate this ecological footprint, human consumption is thus compared to the Earth’s capacity for regeneration. The objective is to assess the land surface necessary for the absorption of CO2 and the production of renewable resources in connection with human activity. This method of calculation makes it possible to know whether or not there is an ecological overrun (or deficit). This measurement is also carried out at the level of the various countries. The basic unit is the hag (“global hectare”) which materializes the number of hectares necessary for the planet to regenerate in order to compensate for human activity.

The ecological impact of France

The global ecological footprint is about 18 billion gha, while the global biocapacity is about 12 billion gha. “Demand” therefore exceeds “supply” by nearly 50%. With additional results following the countries. And France, like many so-called developed countries, unfortunately, acts as a bad student. Thus, according to the report drawn up by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund, or World Nature Fund) on “France’s other deficit”, France’s ecological footprint is 300 million gha (i.e. 4. 7 gha per French). That is to say 1.8 times more than its biocapacity allows. If everyone lived like the French, it would take 2.9 Earths… Conclusion: our way of life is absolutely not in line with the natural resources that we agree to.

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