The Ecological Footprint of Wellingtonians in the 1950s
Population and economic growth lead to increased demand for resources; these resources rely on land or water, which are both finite resources on Earth. Globally humanity is currently operating at an unsustainable level, demanding more land than available. One method used to measure this is ecological footprinting. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) regularly estimates the ecological footprints of most countries, from this information it is estimated that New Zealand is using less productive land than is available and therefore is in ecological deficit. Research has been conducted by the Ministry for the Environment, to calculate the ecological footprints for New Zealand and its regions. However, no research has been conducted for Wellington city. The research of this thesis therefore uses current methodologies to estimate the ecological footprint of Wellingtonians in 1956 and 2006. In conjunction with this, research was also conducted to understand the lifestyles and quality of life during the 1950s and today. This is used to form comparisons between the ecological footprints that are 50 years apart. The ecological footprints and the relevant quality of life and lifestyles are also compared to indicate any relationships that may exist between these factors. Finally the research looked at the possible effects on the current lifestyle and quality of life of Wellingtonians from reducing the relevant parts of the ecological footprint. To achieve this three methods were used, firstly calculations based on the ecological footprint methodology developed by Wackernagel and Rees, and two surveys which consisted of a questionnaire and then focus group discussions, completed by residents of Wellington who lived in the city during the 1950s.