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Environmental Footprinting

Ecological or environmental footprinting has its roots in an integrated response to two questions, both of which have arisen from a growing awareness that current patterns and scales of consumer culture are destructive of underpinning natural systems. First, what are the implications of a given level of consumption in terms of its environmental impact? Second, where should the environmental limits to that consumption lie? The following is an introduction to footprinting concepts, from their beginning to the present day.

Sustainability is fundamentally about environmental limits. It is not, as is often suggested in government and business documents, about balancing social, environmental, and economic impacts. Such trade-offs are required, but they are not central to a meaningful definition of sustainability. The need for trade-offs reflects shortcomings ...

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