IB learning outcome: Evaluate the ecological footprint as a measure of the relationship between population size and resource consumption. Identify international variations in its size.

Make sure to save your notes from this unit the the proper folder.


Mathis Wackernagel: Creator of The Ecological Footprint

1. As you watch the video, come up with your own definition fo Ecological footprint:


EF calculations take the following resources into account, and is calculated in terms of space: hectors per person. (Acres in the US)

  • Arable land
  • pasture land
  • forests
  • oceans
  • infrastructure
  • energy costs

2. In your groups, find out how EF is measured.

3. Using this website  and the map below, identify international variations in EF size. 



4.What is Earth’s optimal biocapacity?

5. What is the average ecological footprint per capita of Earth?

6. Define Earth’s EF deficit.

7. Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of using the ecological footprint as an indicator.

8. Now, calculate your own ecological footprint using one of the following online calculator. 

What part of your life habits were most responsible for you ecological footprint?


For next class, read Codrington p. 145 to 154 and review these notes


Part 2: Malthusian Theory

IB learning outcome:

Discuss the two opposing views (neo-Malthusian and anti-Malthusian) of the relationship between population size and resource consumption


You will have some before the debate to plan your case: You will debate the opposing views of Neo-Malthusian (not Malthus himself…he was way off!) and Anti-Malthusians.

  • You are responsible for research
  • The class will be divided in 2 teams, with 2 or 3 speakers
  • The others can pass notes and diagrams during the discussion. on a shared document.
  • Topics to consider
    • Ecological footprint
    • Limits of Growth
    • The relationship between scarcity, price and long-term commodity trends
    • Increasing standards of living
    • Population projections
    • Environmental projections
  • Include case studies when possible