Flemings living above ecological means

A new study carried out by the environmental organisation Ecolife on behalf of the Flemish Government has revealed that Flemings have an ecologic footprint measuring an average of 9 hectares. This is greater than the average for Wallonia and for the country that border Belgium. The study's findings are published in an article in Thursday's edition of the daily 'De Standaard'.

According to Ecolife, if the entire world population lived like the Flemings do, we would need 5 Planet Earths to sustain them.

This is the second time that Ecolife has measured the Flemings' ecological footprint. The first study was carried out 4 years ago.An ecological footprint is the space required to meet an individual’s consumption patens.

In the first study 4 years ago it was calculated that the average Fleming's ecological footprint measured 6.3 hectares. However, using more advance calculation methods Ecolife
says that the Flemings ecological footprint now measures 9 hectares. This is 50% greater than the ecological footprint of the average Walloon.

Belgium's neighbours also have smaller ecological footprints than the Flemings: France 5.2 hectares, Germany 6.1 hectares, the Netherlands 6.7 hectares and the UK 5.9 hectares.

Ecolife's Stijn Bruers told 'De Standaard' that Flanders' poor performance is mainly due to our high level of energy consumption. Many Flemings live in old and poorly insulated houses and many of us drive diesel cars. Furthermore, Flemings eat at lot of meat and animal fat and the fish we eat often come from afar.

"We need to question our eating habits. Why not eat seaweed instead of tuna? It would also be better for us to drink tea instead of coffee, as coffee plantations require a lot of water ", Mr Bruers added.