Household ecological footprints - demographics and sustainability

Caird, Sally and Roy, Robin (2006). Household ecological footprints - demographics and sustainability. Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management, 8(4) pp. 407–429.



How do demographic factors influence the environmental impacts of households? A major two year study used the ecological footprint technique to measure the environmental impacts of over 1000 UK households. Energy and transport were the biggest contributors to the ‘footprint’ of households. Rural, adult and households with few members had significantly larger per capita ecological footprints than urban/suburban households, households with children and households with several members. Although 11% of these households could be regarded as environmentally sustainable, the majority would require a reduction of 60% in ecological footprint to achieve a globally sustainable footprint per person. Consideration is given to the policy implications of demographic influences on household ecological footprints, including proposed personal carbon allowances.

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