Spatio-Temporal Dynamic Analysis of Sustainable Development in China Based on the Footprint Family
Division of Student Affairs, Xi’an Shiyou University, Xi’an 710065, China
School of Resource and Environment, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
School of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020246
Received: 4 November 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of 2nd International Symposium on Environment Science and Health)
The existing index systems on sustainable evaluation are mostly based on a multi index comprehensive evaluation method. The main disadvantage of this approach is that the selection and assignment of evaluation indexes are greatly influenced by subjective factors, which can result in poor comparability of results. By contrast, the Footprint Family (including ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and water footprint) is not affected by subjective factors. The Footprint Family also covers the basic tenets of sustainable development. This paper proposes use of a sustainable development evaluation index system based on the principle of the Footprint Family, and including the ecological pressure index (EPI), the ecological occupancy index (EOI), the ecological economic coordination index (EECI), the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emission index (CEI), the water resources stress index (WSI), and the sustainable development index (SDI). Furthermore, a standard for grading the evaluated results based on global benchmarks is formulated. The results of an empirical study in China were the following. The development situation deteriorated from 1990 to 2015. The results showed that the SDI decreased from a medium level (grade 5) to a lower-medium level (grade 4). The results of this empirical study also showed that the method of evaluation can avoid the influence of subjective factors and can be used in the evaluation of sustainable development for various temporal and spatial conditions.