The Ecological Footprint

Accounting for a Small Planet

In the film, Wackernagel introduces the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool that measures human demand on the Earth. Footprint accounts work like a bank statement, documenting whether we are living within our ecological budget or consuming nature's resources faster than the planet can renew them.

In just thirty-five minutes, the film paints a picture of our current global situation: for the first time, humanity is in "ecological overshoot" with annual demand on resources exceeding what Earth can regenerate each year. Most countries are running ecological deficits, with Footprints larger than their own biological capacity. Wackernagel explores the implications of these ecological deficits, and provides examples of how governments, communities and businesses are using the Footprint to help improve their ecological performance.

"The Ecological Footprint“ is very educational and therefore suitable for school screenings and for intellectual curious people. The film contains many facts, numbers and charts.

Director(s): Patsy Northcutt
Script: Mathis Wackernagel
Production: Patsy Northcutt, Northcutt Productions for Global Footprint Network
Music: Mike Northcutt
Actors: Mathis Wackernagel, John Thwaites
Year: 2004
Duration: 36 min
Our age recommendation: 14
Language (audio): English
Country of origin: United States
Shooting Locations:
Screening rights: Bullfrog Films (United States)
  • This film can be watched for free at the top.


Main topic(s): Climate
Secondary topics: footprint
Mentions: ecological footprint planet resource nature sustainability ecosystem
Topic Page(s): Climate

Host a Screening

Film Tips

Other Films