Tool "My ecological footprint"

Language: English

This activity shows participants how much their personal lifestyles impact on the ecosystem and gives a good basis for reflection on possible behavioural changes for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Time 45 minutes
Approximate number of participants 10+
Age 15+
Date published 19 Oct 2011, 16:02


To introduce the concept of the ecological footprint
To understand how sustainable different personal behaviors are
To discuss what behaviours we can change


Outside space or big room where all participants can stand in one line and walk forwards up to 70 small steps
Pen for each participant
Questionnaire for each participant


Copy the ecological footprint questionnaire for each participant.

Step-by-step instructions

1. Explain that in the following activity the participants will see how much their lifestyle impacts on our ecosystem. For each question, every participant should consider for themselves which answer to give. Remind them that this is not to make them feel guilty, but to show them in which areas improvements might be possible or might not be possible. If they are not sure which answer to give, they should estimate or else take the average answer.
2. All participants stand in one line. Everyone gets a copy of the questionnaire. One question at a time is read out and the participants step forwards according to the answer they give. They also mark their answer on the questionnaire.
3. Between the questions, you can ask if participants knew how big the carbon footprint of an activity was, and how they feel if they step forward a lot or very little.
4. After having read all the questions, make a circle. Give the participants time to individually sum up all their answers.
5. Explain what the numbers mean and let the participants compare their footprint with the global average.


How did it feel to always move on or be left behind?
What behaviour could you change and which could you not change? Why?
Is it a life choice or a necessity to save energy?
What would you be ready to give up? Change?
Where should we stand in the end?


The ecological footprint
The ecological footprint estimates the area of land and ocean required to support one’s consumption of food,goods, services, housing and energy and assimilate one’s waste. The ecological footprint is expressed in ‘global hectares’, which are standardised units taking into account the differences in biological productivity of various ecosystems impacted by consumption activities. Nowadays the expression ‘carbon footprint’ is used more often to express the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a person, an organisation, an event or a product.

Total your score by adding up the circled values from the above questions.
If your score is less than 150, your ecological footprint is smaller than 4 hectares.
If your score is 150–350, your ecological footprint is between 4.0 hectares and 6.0 hectares
If your score is 350–550, your ecological footprint is between 6.0 hectares and 7.8 hectares
If your score is 550–750, your ecological footprint is between 7.8 and 10 hectares
If your score is more than 750, your ecological footprint is greater than 10 hectares.

Only 2.1 hectares per person are available on earth. If everyone in the world used more, we would need more than one earth to sustain us. The average footprint in the UK and Canada is 6 hectares, in Austria 5, in Nicaragua 3, in Sri Lanka 1.

You can find the appendix in the attach file

Attached files