Slovenia gets its own ecological footprint calculator
The Institute for Health and the Environment has released the Slovenian version of the ecological footprint calculator, letting anyone calculate their ecological footprint. Only by assessing our lifestyles and raising awareness can we make a difference to ensure a cleaner environment and thereby improve people's health.
Ecological footprints measure the natural resources and ecosystem services used by humans and compare them with their biological capacities for regeneration. Footprints are considered one of the most comprehensive indicators of sustainability showing the extent of human environmental pressure.
"For years, Slovenian experts have been following the methodological progress made in calculating ecological footprints and the possibilities of using them to provide a comprehensive overview of the pressures placed on the environment by human society. Interest in ecological footprints in Slovenia has grown considerably after the indicator was included in the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030 in order to monitor performance in natural resource management," said Associate Professor of Geography at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, Katja Vintar Mally.
The Development Strategy aims to reduce Slovenia's ecological footprint per inhabitant by approximately 20 percent by 2030. The aim of reducing the country's ecological footprint is also mentioned in the National Environmental Protection Programme 2030 and the indicator is included in regional development programmes for the period 2021–2027. "Since we are currently moving away from the set goals rather than getting closer to reaching them, awareness-raising and education about this issue are all the more important," she added.
Around 76% of Slovenians are aware that climate change poses a serious threat. A large majority of Slovenians try to recycle and limit their use of plastics. But merely 22% try to reduce their ecological footprint when shopping for food, and only 7% think of their ecological footprint when planning their holidays or a long trip, according to a Eurobarometer survey.
As part of the Sustainaware project, the Institute for Health and the Environment in collaboration with the Global Footprint Network developed a calculator that calculates a person's ecological footprint based on their behaviour and habits. This is the first step towards greater awareness about the importance of one's ecological footprint and towards actual changes in people's behaviour.