Four planets: the environmental footprint of the average Canadian
What’s in our front window this winter?
Four inflatable earths now fill our front window display. The banner reminds us it would take four planet earths to support the Canadian lifestyle, according to the latest Living Planet Report, published by the WWF.
However, Canada is one of a handful of countries in the world that has an ecological surplus. The average Canadian has an ecological footprint of 7.6 gha*, yet the country’s productive land and sea provide each person with 14.5 gha of natural resources.
Similarly, the average American, has a footprint of 9.6 gha, yet the States only produces 4.7 gha, putting the average U.S. resident in ecological debt. The highest footprint in the world is that of the average Emirati (11.0 gha) and the lowest footprint is that of the average Afghani (0.1gha).
On a global basis we have been living on ecological deficit since the 1980s. In 2003, the average world citizen had a footprint of 2.23 gha, yet the planet only produced 1.78 gha of natural resources, resulting in a deficit of about 25%. This means that it took one year and three months for the Earth to produce all the ecological resources we needed that year. Below the banner, we present a selection of endangered species, such as the polar bear, the giant panda, the Mexican wolf, the blue whale, and the niveus non-sapiens (also known as the snowman). With the accelerated melting of ice caps in the poles, we think the snowman is now joining the endangered species list.
* global hectares (gha) are hectares with world-average biological productivity.