Austrian Ecological Footprint Calculator

The Footprint: When will the Earth's ecological limits be reached? Find out your personal footprint!

The ecological footprint is a simple metaphor used to describe the amount of land and sea area a person needs on our planet. It demonstrates that the Earth's resources are finite and depicts its ecological limits. All natural resources (= biocapacity) we consume for food, shelter, travelling etc. in turn require space to regrow. Equally, nature needs resources to absorb wastes (for example forests to absorb and store CO2).

This mathematical measurand is the easiest way of testing the sustainability of our lifestyle and should encourage us to change our minds and everyday habits for the long term.

The ecological footprint of a person or a country is given in global hectares (gha). Dividing the biologically productive area available (2010: 11.9 billion hectares) by the global population indicates that there are about 1.7 gha per person on the planet. Meanwhile, an average Austrian consumes as much as 5.3 gha per person to satisfy personal needs. Put more simply: "If all 7 billion people lived as we do, we would need three plantes of the Earth's quality".

The Federal Ministry offers the second version of its online Ecological Footprint Calculator for Austria which can be used by anyone who wishes to find out about the amount of ecological resources his/her lifestyle requires.

The basis of the calculation is the footprint of an “average Austrian”. Results are therefore valid for persons living in Austria. A person’s individual resource consumption is determined by various questions on housing, mobility, food and consumption. For questions one cannot answer, the Austrian average figures are used.

The system also offers hands-on recommendations on how to optimise the results.