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《Journal of Glaciology and Geocryology》 2005-03
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Ecological Efficiency of High Education——Ecological Footprint of University Campus

GU Xiao-wei, LI Guang-jun, WANG Qing, LIU Jian-xing, DING Yi, LIU Jing-zhi(Resources and Ecological Economics Research Center,Northeastern University, Shenyang Liaoning 110004, China)  
The principles of the componential method for ecological footprint calculation are introduced and its mathematical model formulated. The method is then applied to case studies of university campuses to investigate the ecological efficiency of high education. The ecological footprints of two university campuses, Northeastern University (NEU) and Shenyang University (SYU), were calculated and analyzed for the year of 2003. The components considered in this study include energy (coal, natural gas and electricity) consumption, food consumption, waste disposal, water supply, transportation, and paper consumption. The ecological footprint of NEU was {24 787 } hm +2, which means that nearly {25 000 } hm +2 of ecologically productive land was needed to support the consumptions and to Absorb the wastes from the campus for that year. The ecological efficiency of NEU was 0 ^94 student/ha. The ecological footprint of SYU was {17 218 } hm +2 with an ecological efficiency of 0 ^8 student/ha. It can be seen that one hectare of land with the global average productivity is not sufficient to support a single student at NEU or SYU. The largest footprint component for both NEU and SYU is from energy consumption, which takes up 68% and 54% of the total footprints of the two universities, respectively. The second and third largest footprint components are from food consumption and waste disposal. Reducing energy consumption and waste generation is, therefore, crucial to reducing the footprints and thus making the campus ecologically efficient. ;The student consumption power has a significant effect on the total footprint and eco-efficiency of the campuses. The higher is the per student consumption, the lower the eco-efficiency. The student consumption level is in turn determined by the average per capita income of the student families. Preliminary investigations reveal that there exist pronounced differences in the student income situation between the two universities. NEU has more students from remote and rural areas where the economy is less developed than from cities; some 30% of the students of NEU are from low income families; 10%~15% from very low income families and above 5% from extremely low income families. On the contrary, most students of SYU are from city families whose income is much higher than those of NEU. The effect of this difference in family income and, thus, in on-campus consumption can be clearly seen from the composition and proportion of the footprint from food consumption (Table 2). The per student consumption of meat at SYU is twice as high as that at NEU, and consequently, the footprint proportion from food consumption at SYU is higher than that at NEU (37 ^5% vs. 21 ^8%). The student income situation is one of the main factors causing the eco-efficiency of SYU (0 ^80 student/ha) lower than that of NEU (0 ^94 student/ha). ;The disciplinary areas and the intensity of research activities also have a significant effect on the ecological footprints of university campuses. This effect is mainly reflected on the footprint of electricity. The main disciplinary areas of NEU are in Engineering and Technology while those of SYU in social sciences and, hence, the former has many more laboratories with relatively heavy equipments than the latter. Also, NEU is research oriented and its intensity of research is much higher than that of SYU, which is, teaching oriented. As a result, the per student electricity consumption at NEU is 1 ^75 times as high as that at SYU, and the footprint component associated with electricity takes up a much higher proportion of the total footprint at NEU than that at SYU (13 ^5% vs. 6 ^5%). ;A comparison of the ecological footprints of NEU and SYU of China and Redlands University (RU) of Australia reveals that the level of economic development has significant impacts on the total footprint, the proportions of footprint components, and the eco-efficiency of a university campus. Australia, being an industrial nation, has a much higher level of economic development than China who is a developing countr
【Fund】: 教育部优秀中青年教师基金项目(1711)资助
【CateGory Index】: F062.2
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