National Ecological Footprints Per Capita in Africa: Human Development Hierarchies and Ecostructural Factors
Ecological footprint measures the amount of nature it takes to sustain a given population over a course of one year. In the human development hierarchies of the modern capitalist economy, different countries have different consumption patterns, different ecological footprints, and different ecological balances. This paper addresses some factors responsible for the national footprints in Africa. It examines and analyzes the national variations in total footprints per capita associated with human development hierarchies and ecostructural factors in Africa. Using the comparative method of analysis, it exposes the inequitable distribution of African nations' ecological footprints as compared to those of other world regions. It is hypothesized that nations that are populous, more developed, and urbanized are more responsible for environmental stress and degradation than the smaller, poorer, and less urbanized nations. It argues that the more developed consumes a lot of goods and services with high carbon dioxide emissions (waste), which heightens the concern about ecological overshoot. After the analyses, tha paper proffers some policies and solutions on how to reduce the footprints of nations that will help protect the environment and promote a more equitable and sustainable society.
Keywords: Ecological Footprints Per Capita, Ecostructural Factors, Environmental Stress, Environmental Sustainability, Human Development Hierarchy
Dr. Ebenezer Aka
Professor of Urban Studies & Planning, Urban Studies Program, Morehouse College