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The ecological footprint
A sustainability indicator, which expresses the relationship between population and the natural environment. It sums up the use of natural resources by a country's population.

'the sum of all cropland, grazing land, forest and fishing grounds required to produce the food, fibre and timber it consumes, to absorb the wastes emitted when it uses energy, and to provide space for its infrastructure' Living Planet Report 2008.

The ecological footprint therefore has six components:


Look at the map for ecological footprint. Which countries have the highest ecological footprints? Which have the lowest? Suggest reasons for these patterns.

Malthusian Views.
Thomas Malthus (1766 - 1834) produced an essay 'Essay on the principle of population' in 1789. He thought that unmanaged population growth would lead to an inadequate supply of food.

His theory is based on the idea that food supply was increased by bringing more arable land into production. He argued that food production could be increased by a constant amount in arithmetical production. However, the human population increased exponentially, multiplying by itself each time.

Therefore population would eventually exceed the capacity of the land to produce food and catastrophe would occur in the form of famine, disease or war.


Task 1) Use p232 - 234 in Paul Guinness to define the following terms:
Optimum population
Economic optimum
Neo Malthusian Views
Anti - Malthusian Views

Task 2) Copy figure 10 p233 into your notes and summarise the differences between anti and neo malthusian views.
Task 3) Watch the video 'How many people can live on Planet Earth?'

Task 4) Use the information to write notes on the evidence for and evidence against neo and anti malthusian views.

Conservation strategies

Recycling in Hong Kong

Sustainable plastic: