The concept of the ecological footprint was developed by the scientists Mathis Wackernagel and William Reed in 1994. The ecological footprint is a model based on supply and demand, relating two areas to each other: first, the extent of the earth’s biocapacity and second the extent of how much land and water areas are used by mankind. The biocapacity of earth comprises on the one hand the provision of biologically productive land and water areas, on the other hand the absorption and neutralization of waste through nature. Thus, the ecological footprint is a device to measure the use of natural resources.
As of 2019, the ecological footprint of humanity has grown so much that it would take 1.7 earths in terms of surface area to satisfy the use of natural resources.