Giving Back

Income and Ecological Footprint

Here’s another area where the gap between the rich and the poor plays out and it’s something to think about.

A study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that the wealthiest 10 per cent of the population have about 2.5 times the negative impact on the environment as those in the bottom 10 per cent.

The estimate was made using so-called ecological footprints, or the amount of land needed to create the goods people consume to support their lifestyles. For households at the top 10 per cent of the income ladder, earning about $156,000 annually after taxes and transfers, the footprint amounts to an average of 12.4 hectares per person. For households in the bottom tenth, living on an average of $11,500 a year, the footprint is only five hectares per person. The average Canadian uses 7.6 hectares.

Some key reasons for the income difference – richer people have larger homes, more cars, and they travel more.

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