Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ecological Footprint: A review

Today I hit what I consider to be a goldmine.  I went to my Netflix queue to find a documentary dealing with energy usage.  I needed help with figuring out just how much I was consuming, and how I could work toward changing this. 

The Ecological Footprint DVD I found The Ecological Footprint, a short, thirty minute film produced in 2005 by Northcutt Productions.  In it, Dr. Mathis Wackernagel,  president of the Global Footprint Network, explains the meaning of the term ‘ecological footprint’, and the effect our footprint has on the world as a whole.  He holds a PhD in Community and Regional planning, as well as a bachelors in mechanical engineering.  He uses graphs, diagrams, and mathematical approaches to get the idea across, effectively utilizing the skills he worked so hard to attain.  He shows what the footprints (in hectares) per person of various countries are.  This emphasizes his theory that the biosphere is getting smaller as we become more technologically successful.  Wackernagel’s personal goal is simple:  To find a way in which we can all live fulfilling lives in a sustainable manner.
Graph from Global Footprint Network

This was not a documentary that I would call exciting, by any means, but all thirty minutes of the film were jam packed with important information.  Wackernagel’s intent is not so much to fire up our emotions as it is to educate us. The documentary felt very much like a college lecture given by an engaging professor.
I would have liked to have been given more ways to reduce my own ecological footprint, but I suppose that only so much information can be given in a single thirty minute film.  A second part dealing with individual footprint reduction would definitely help increase my level of environmental responsibility, and would therefore be a very welcome sequel.  One can dream, right?
In conclusion, Mathis Wackernagel’s documentary, The Ecological Footprint, is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn the basics about humanity’s effect on the biosphere without getting burdened with all of the emotional pull that most other documentaries indulge in.

*Note: Images in this post have been borrowed from the Global Footprint Network, a site definitely worth visiting.

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