Footprint - eine neue Hausordnung für ein friedliches Zusammenleben auf "Raumschiff-Erde"

If all 7 billion people lived the way Austrians do, then we would need 3 Earths to continue living in these wasteful manners. At the moment, the world’s global footprint is already at over 50%  over our world’s bio capacity, leading to the destruction of the plant- and animal world,and the overuse of waters, air, and ground.

 The global footprint we leave can be measured in global hectares by the amount of area needed  to produce the raw materials that we consume (food, energy, mobility, living etc), as well as the area needed to absorb and convert residues such as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. To live sustainably, a region must not have the global footprint exceed the actual area of the region.

On average, according to a study conducted in 2008, Europeans have  global footprint of 5 Global Hectares (gha), which is less than the average American (7,6 gha), but still a shocking amount compared to the average Indian who’s footprint is only 0,9 gha. If we want to live on a biologically-diverse, thriving planet, then a fair footprint for each citizen of the Earth to have would be max. 1,4 gha.

According to the United Nations, raising animals for food generates more greenhouse-gas emissions (51% of all emissions) than all the cars, planes, ships, trucks, and trains in the world combined, which of course plays a huge role in our global footprint. On top of the greenhouse-gas emissions, nearly one third of the total water footprint of agriculture in the world is also related to the production of animal products. A simple way to reduce your gha would be to cut out your meat and animal product intake, or to at least reduce it.

The next big issue is mobility and transport. Nowadays, with cheap airlines, where you can get flights across the continent for as little as 8 euros, and families owning multiple cars and driving around everywhere, transportation is responsible for over 30% of all greenhouse-gas emissions. In Austria per 1000 people there are 500 cars, where as in India there are under 20 cars per 1000 people. If countries like India were to use cars as much as western-Europeans do, then it would lead to a catastrophical ascent in greenhouse emissions. Of course, the obvious way to reduce our global footprints in relation to mobility and transport would be to use public transport, carpool, use e-cars, and to use bikes and walk.

The main component of our global footprint is energy consumption. This includes not only the fossile energy, atomic energy, and hydro-energy, but also all the energy needed for the production transportation, and disposal of the products,which we consume on a daily basis. Austria would need aproximately 18 million more hectares of forest just to bind co2 emissions through forest, which is unfortuantely impossible seeing as Austria’s total area is only 8,4 million hectares.

Through more efficient usage, it would be possible to save 50% of the energy which we are consuming. The remaining energy demand in Austria can be covered by renewable sources such as solar energy, wind and hydro power as well as the sensible use of biomass.

You can measure your personal global footprint at

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