An ecological footprint measures the land and sea area people require to produce resources that we consume. This includes our food, our clothes, fuel we use for our cars and building materials for our homes. It also measures how much land and water is required to deal with the waste products of our consumption, such as carbon dioxide and agricultural pollution. - footprint.wwf.org
The term "footprint" has been used so people can better visualize the land area, imagining our land impact as a literal area of land on earth.
There are many tools to measure your ecological footprint, it's best to use one which follows internationally recognised methodology of the Global Footprint Network.
While not super sleek, the Global Footprint Network's calculator has some nice visuals and provides some tips for reducing your impact at the end, plus allows for customization for some regions. Give it a try!
WWF UK also has a great ecological footprint calculator which includes badges and milestones for taking action: http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
Is carbon included in ecological footprint?
Is water included in ecological footprint?
Not really. Fishing grounds are included but freshwater is not, see Water Footprint for this impact.
What is a global hectare?
According to Global Footprint Network FAQ: A global hectare is a common unit that encompasses the average productivity of all the biologically productive land and sea area in the world in a given year. Biologically productive areas include cropland, forest and fishing grounds, and do not include deserts, glaciers and the open ocean.
Using a common unit, i.e., global hectares, allows for different types of land to be compared using a common denominator. Equivalence factors are used to convert physical hectares of different types of land, such as cropland and pasture, into the common unit of global hectares.
Global hectares can also be converted into global acres.
Yes, it's a bit complicated...but it's a start!