MM CW 17 Ecological Footprint Consumption

Original Viz:


To understand this chart, some context is necessary. The ecological footprint is a metric which measures how much nature we have (Biocapacity) and how much nature we use (Ecological Footprint Consumption).

Biocapacity represents the productivity of ecological assets (e.g. cropland, grazing land, forest land). These areas can absorb most of the waste humans create – especially carbon emissions.

Ecological Footprint Consumption measures how many natural resources a population consumes in a given area.

More detailed information can be found here:

What I do not like about the viz:

  • It is way too crowded. The labels for the respective countries are not clearly visible and it is difficult to pick out a specific country in which you might be interested in.
  • It is not clear by which measure the viz is sorted by. It seems like it is sorted by the highest value of carbon emissions, but it is not clear why exactly it is this category and not one of the other categories.
  • Small values in the stacked bar chart are hardly visible. Countries with low emission values are almost impossible to decipher.

My Makeover


The key message I want to convey

  • I created an exploratory viz which shows the percentage of total consumption for all ecological assets categories.
  • The viz shows clearly the largest category of ecological consumption for each country.

The design choices I made

  • The donuts where a logical choice to combine the 2 most important information I wanted to display: The name of the country and the percentage of Total of ecological consumption for each country.
  • By using the donut chart I was able to display the abbreviation for each country inside each donut and avoid the overlapping country labels on the x-axis of the original viz.
  • The percentage of total donuts also have the advantage that small values are not overlooked inside a stacked bar chart like it is the case in the original viz.
  • It is possible to highlight each category by clicking on it on the legend. By doing this, the audience can very easily find out which category is the most consumed for each country. 
  • I added an additional filter which filters on the 9 countries with the highest/lowest overall consumption for each category.


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