An ecological footprint measures how much people take from nature. The footprint is then compared to what natural resources there are to provide for people. The ecological footprint takes into account how much farm land, forest area, grazing land and sea area it takes to provide everything people use. More simply, footprint calculations answer the questions: how much nature do we have? And how much do we use?
When analyzing the world as a whole, the footprint accounts show that humanity is using nature about 1.5 times faster than nature renews itself. It is like using 1.5 planet Earths. Since people consume differently around the world, it is also possible to to calculate how many planet it would take if everybody around the world consumed like a particular population. For instance, if everybody consumed like the Germans, it would take nearly 3 planet Earths.