The Ecological Footprint of the world — a measure of people’s demand on nature — has begun climbing again after experiencing a 2.1 percent decline in 2009 during the recession, according to Global Footprint Network’s 2015 Edition of the National Footprint Accounts, released today. The world’s Ecological Footprint increased nearly 4 percent in 2010 and nearly 1.7 percent in 2011 (the latest year data is available).
China is the world’s largest contributor to annual growth in the demand for ecological resources and services and has been for the last five years for which data is available. However, excluding China, the world’s Ecological Footprint increased far less in 2011: 0.9 percent. The Ecological Footprint of China climbed 3.6 percent in 2010 and 5.2 percent in 2011.
While the Ecological Footprints of many countries declined during the recession, including the United States and Germany, the Ecological Footprints of China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, continued to rise and now comprise about one quarter of the Ecological Footprint of the entire world.
Still, the Ecological Footprints per person of both China and India remain far lower than that of many high-income countries. For example, the Ecological Footprint per person of the United States is more than seven times higher than that of India and nearly three times that of China.