Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Footprint

So what about the ACT’s ecological footprint? How many earths would it take to sustain life if everyone lived as we do?

The Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (OCSE) reported the following findings from their paper Key findings of the ACT 2008-09 ecological footprints:

  • 9.2 global hectares was the size of the average ACT resident’s ecological footprint in 2008-09. The footprint has increased by 8% in 5 years and nearly 25% in 10 years
  • Our recent ecological footprint was 13% above the Australian average and nearly 3.5 times the global average
  • We used 14 times the land area of the ACT to support our lifestyles

The ACT’s ecological footprint means that 9.2 global hectares per person of land (and Surface Ocean) is needed to support each person in the ACT. This includes the amount of raw materials we require for building, food, energy and also to dispose of the waste we produce (including CO2 emissions) through our consumption.

One of the biggest issues for Canberra is that we are heavily reliant on imports. Much of our food and resources come from outside the ACT and these factors (along with our increased demand for services and consumption rates) are driving our footprint up.

If everyone in the world lived in the same way as the average person in the ACT, we would need 5 earths to give us enough land (and surface water) to provide our resources and absorb our wastes.