The concept of ‘ecological footprint’ is simple enough in theory – it is a measure of the demands that an individual or a community or a nation place upon the resources of the earth. Producing a numerical value is more difficult because of the assumptions that need to be made to reduce intangibles to measurable entities. Also, modern Australians draw upon such a wide range of goods and services during daily life that tracking them down requires some very detailed calculations. So the figures produced for a given locality have little meaning as fixed values: the calculations are more valid if they are used to compare two areas during the one exercise, using the same assumptions and formulae.
Geographer and futurist Michael Gutteridge performed the calculations for the lands of south-western Queensland, in 2007. His report has been retrieved from archives for the benefit of QSN readers.
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