002 - Ecological


Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Measuring trends in resource consumption, including individual, national and global ecological footprints.

Key Concepts

The scale of ecological footprints vary between individuals within a country, between nations and regions. The process of living creates an ecological footprint. Future possibilities in terms of the increase or decrease of a nation’s ecological footprint will depend upon the nations governance.


    • Be able to explain how resource consumption can be measured

    • Be able to evaluate ecological footprints as a measure of resource consumption

    • Be able to describe trends in individual, national and global ecological footprints

    • Be able to link ‘development’ to changes in ecological footprint

Key Terminology

            • Ecological Footprint

            • Carbon Footprint

            • Renewable Sources

            • Fossil Fuels

            • “cascade of environmental costs”

            • BRICS countries

            • OECD countries

Define the words above by using the useful links below and your course textbook. You will be expected to use these words in your answers.

Activity One - Measuring

While you have defined what an ecological footprint is at the beginning of this lesson it is interesting to find out what your personal ecological footprint is to be able to it compare it to the rest of the world. The type of data collected and recorded is also interesting as it can skew the final result.

Activity Two - Watch

It is important to know what our ecological footprints are but why is it that amount. We consume resources for a host of reasons and it is often to do with Living Standards and overall expectations. Watch the Ted Talk below about ecological footprint and answer the following questions.

      1. What are consumption habits doing to the planet?

      2. What factors influence the consumption of resources?

Activity Three - Describe

The syllabus point asks you to look at national and global ecological footprint trends. Remember a trend is a change over time. Don't forget to include data in your answers.

      1. Using the graph below describe the changes to the world's ecological footprint.

      2. Using the link in the 'Useful Resources' box below describe the changes in the ecological footprint for our Big 5 countries (USA, UK, China, Morocco, Ethiopia). You will need to click on the specific country to get a graph of the change in the ecological footprint.

      3. Using the second article in the 'Useful Resources' box - read the article and suggest whether there is a link between the level of development of a country and its ecological footprint. The graph at the bottom of the article is particularly interesting.

Exam Style Question

Describe the general trend in global energy consumption. [ 2 marks]

Describe two problems of using global energy footprints as an indicator to compare countries energy use. [4 marks]