Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A drain or drench on biocapacity? Environmental account of fertility, marriage, and ICT in the USA and Canada


In either case of ecological and biocapacity surplus or deficit, the precautionary effort toward optimizing the natural capital posits a potential framework for environmental sustainability. In studying the environmental account of fertility, marriage, and technological advancement in the USA and Canada, the autoregressive distributed lad-bound testing is employed over the experimental period 1990–2014. Importantly, the study revealed that the interaction of fertility and marriage exerts a significant and negative impact of biocapacity in both the USA and Canada and in short run and long run. Moreover, while the impact of energy use in both countries is significant and positive in both the short and long run, the magnitude of the impact is almost negligible. Similarly, an improvement in technological advancement in the countries is empirically observed to cause a decline in the biocapacity in both the long and short term. These posit that both energy use and technological advancement in Canada and the USA do not necessarily improve the productive capacity of the countries ecosystems. In general, the study provides policy frameworks for stakeholders toward addressing the environmental peculiarity of the USA (a biocapacity debtor) and Canada (a biocapacity creditor).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    Brazil is the world’s first nation to run a large-scale program for using ethanol as fuel (Dias De Oliveira et al. 2005).

  2. 2.

    Detail description of the (17) Sustainable Development Goals 2030 is available in

  3. 3.

    Biocapacity is the capacity of the ecosystems to regenerate what people demand from those surfaces. The biocapacity of the surface represents its ability to renew what people demand. Biocapacity is measured in global hectares. Further details on biocapacity are available on


  1. Alola AA (2018) The trilemma of trade, monetary and immigration policies in the United States: accounting for environmental sustainability. Sci Total Environ.

  2. Alola AA, Alola UV (2018a) Agricultural land usage and tourism impact on renewable energy consumption among Coastline Mediterranean countries. Energy Environ 0958305X18779577.

  3. Alola AA, Alola UV (2018b) The dynamics of tourism—refugeeism on house prices in Cyprus and Malta. J Int Migr Integr 1–16

  4. Alola AA, Bekun FV, Sarkodie SA (2019a) Dynamic impact of trade policy, economic growth, fertility rate, renewable and non-renewable energy consumption on ecological footprint in Europe. Sci Total Environ 685:702–709

  5. Alola AA, Saint Akadiri S, Akadiri AC, Alola UV, Fatigun AS (2019b) Cooling and heating degree days in the US: the role of macroeconomic variables and its impact on environmental sustainability. Sci Total Environ 695:133832

  6. Bank of Canada (2015) Minding the labour gap. Accessed 5 Jan 2019

  7. Besagni G, Borgarello M (2018) The determinants of residential energy expenditure in Italy. Energy 165:369–386

  8. Besagni G, Borgarello M (2019) The socio-demographic and geographical dimensions of fuel poverty in Italy. Energy Res Soc Sci 49:192–203

  9. Bossle MB, de Barcellos MD, Vieira LM, Sauvée L (2016) The drivers for adoption of eco-innovation. J Clean Prod 113:861–872

  10. Buhalis D (1997) Information technology as a strategic tool for economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits enhancement of tourism at destination regions. Prog Tour Hosp Res 3(1):71–93

  11. Cafaro P (2012) Climate ethics and population policy. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Clim Chang 3(1):45–61

  12. Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) (2018) Young workers could alleviate Canada’s labour shortage, but they need help. Accessed 5 Jan 2019

  13. Charfeddine L, Kahia M (2019) Impact of renewable energy consumption and financial development on CO2 emissions and economic growth in the MENA region: a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) analysis. Renew Energy 139:198–213

  14. Charfeddine L, Mrabet Z (2017) The impact of economic development and social-political factors on ecological footprint: a panel data analysis for 15 MENA countries. Renew Sust Energ Rev 76:138–154

  15. Collins J, Page L (2019) The heritability of fertility makes world population stabilization unlikely in the foreseeable future. Evol Hum Behav 40(1):105–111

  16. Coscieme L, Pulselli FM, Niccolucci V, Patrizi N, Sutton PC (2016) Accounting for “land-grabbing” from a biocapacity viewpoint. Sci Total Environ 539:551–559

  17. Crist E, Mora C, Engelman R (2017) The interaction of human population, food production, and biodiversity protection. Science 356(6335):260–264

  18. Destek MA, Sarkodie SA (2019) Investigation of environmental Kuznets curve for ecological footprint: the role of energy and financial development. Sci Total Environ 650:2483–2489

  19. Dias De Oliveira ME, Vaughan BE, Rykiel EJ (2005) Ethanol as fuel: energy, carbon dioxide balances, and ecological footprint. AIBS Bull 55(7):593–602

  20. Dickey DA, Fuller WA (1979) Distribution of the estimators for autoregressive time series with a unit root. Journal of the American statistical association, 74(366a):427–431

  21. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1994) Rethinking the environmental impacts of population, affluence and technology. Hum Ecol Rev 1(2):277–300

  22. Downey L (2005) Single mother families and industrial pollution in metropolitan America. Sociol Spectr 25(6):651–675

  23. Downey L, Hawkins B (2008) Single-mother families and air pollution: a national study. Soc Sci Q 89(2):523–536

  24. Downey L, Crowder K, Kemp RJ (2017) Family structure, residential mobility, and environmental inequality. J Marriage Fam 79(2):535–555

  25. Dubey R, Gunasekaran A, Ali SS (2015) Exploring the relationship between leadership, operational practices, institutional pressures and environmental performance: a framework for green supply chain. Int J Prod Econ 160:120–132

  26. Earl J, Hickey C, Rieder TN (2017) Fertility, immigration, and the fight against climate change. Bioethics 31(8):582–589

  27. Global Footprint Network (2018) Accessed 22 Dec 2018

  28. Kemp R (1994) Technology and the transition to environmental sustainability: the problem of technological regime shifts. Futures 26(10):1023–1046

  29. Kissinger M, Rees WE (2010) Importing terrestrial biocapacity: the US case and global implications. Land Use Policy 27(2):589–599

  30. Kwiatkowski D, Phillips PC, Schmidt P, Shin Y (1992) Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root: How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?. Journal of econometrics, 54(1-3):159–178

  31. Kreps D, Kimppa K, Lennerfors TT, Fors P, van Rooijen J (2015) ICT and environmental sustainability in a changing society. Information Technology & People.

  32. Lee CT, Klemeš JJ, Hashim H, Ho CS (2016) Mobilising the potential towards low-carbon emissions society in Asia. Clean Techn Environ Policy 18(8):2337–2345

  33. Luck GW (2007) A review of the relationships between human population density and biodiversity. Biol Rev 82(4):607–645

  34. McBain B, Lenzen M, Albrecht G, Wackernagel M (2018) Reducing the ecological footprint of urban cars. Int J Sustain Transp 12(2):117–127

  35. Mozumder P, Vásquez WF, Marathe A (2011) Consumers’ preference for renewable energy in the southwest USA. Energy Econ 33(6):1119–1126

  36. Neyer G (2003) Family policies and low fertility in Western Europe.

  37. Niccolucci V, Tiezzi E, Pulselli FM, Capineri C (2012) Biocapacity vs ecological footprint of world regions: a geopolitical interpretation. Ecol Indic 16:23–30

  38. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2019) Accessed 22 Dec 2018

  39. Pesaran MH, Shin Y, Smith RJ (2001) Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships. J Appl Econ 16(3):289–326

  40. Prettner K, Bloom DE, Strulik H (2013) Declining fertility and economic well-being: do education and health ride to the rescue? Labour Econ 22:70–79

  41. Ress WE, Wackernagel M (1996) Ecological footprints and appropriated carrying capacity: measuring the natural capital requirements of the human economy. Focus 6(1):45–60

  42. Romejko K, Nakano M (2017) Portfolio analysis of alternative fuel vehicles considering technological advancement, energy security and policy. J Clean Prod 142:39–49

  43. Rosa EA, York R, Dietz T (2004) Tracking the anthropogenic drivers of ecological impacts. AMBIO: J Human Environ 33(8):509–512

  44. Sarkodie SA, Adams S (2018) Renewable energy, nuclear energy, and environmental pollution: accounting for political institutional quality in South Africa. Sci Total Environ 643:1590–1601

  45. Schramski JR, Gattie DK, Brown JH (2015) Human domination of the biosphere: rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind. Proc Natl Acad Sci 112(31):9511–9517

  46. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2015) The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accessed 5 Jan 2019

  47. The spaced-out Scientist (2018) Accessed 25 Dec 2018

  48. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (2014) The graying of Japan: tough choices on the population dilemma. Knowledge@Wharton. Accessed 2 Nov 2018

  49. Torgler B, Garcia-Valiñas MA, Macintyre A (2008) Differences in preferences towards the environment: the impact of a gender, age and parental effect

  50. UNFCC, C (2015) Paris agreement. FCCCC/CP/2015/L. 9/Rev.1. (Accessed 20 November 2018).

  51. Uniyal, S., Paliwal, R., Kaphaliya, B., & Sharma, R. K. (2020). Human overpopulation: impact on environment. In Megacities and Rapid Urbanization: Breakthroughs in Research and Practice (pp. 20–30). IGI Global

  52. Wackernagel M, Monfreda C (2004) Ecological footprints and energy. Encycl Energy 2(1):1–11

  53. Wackernagel M, Rees WE (1997) Perceptual and structural barriers to investing in natural capital: economics from an ecological footprint perspective. Ecol Econ 20(1):3–24

  54. Wackernagel M, Onisto L, Bello P, Linares AC, Falfán ISL, Garcıa JM, Guerrero MGS (1999) National natural capital accounting with the ecological footprint concept. Ecol Econ 29(3):375–390

  55. Weber H, Sciubba JD (2019) The effect of population growth on the environment: evidence from European Regions. Eur J Popul 35(2):379–402

  56. Williams E (2011) Environmental effects of information and communications technologies. Nature 479(7373):354

  57. World Development Indicator (WDI) (2019) World Bank. Accessed 22 Dec 2018

  58. Yi L, Thomas HR (2007) A review of research on the environmental impact of e-business and ICT. Environ Int 33(6):841–849

  59. York R, Rosa EA, Dietz T (2003) Footprints on the earth: the environmental consequences of modernity. Am Sociol Rev:279–300

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Andrew A. Alola.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues


Appendix 1

Table 4 The correlation estimation

Appendix 2

Fig. 2

Time series plots for Canada

Fig. 3

Time series plots for the United States

Appendix 3


ARDLautoregressive distributed lag


CSDcross-section dependency

ECerror correction

EFPecological footprint

EUSEenergy use


FertMarfertility and marriage

GDPgross domestic product

GDPcgross domestic product per capita

GHGgreenhouse gas

GMMgeneralized method moments

HOnull hypothesis

H1alternative hypothesis

ICTinformation and communication technology

LMLagrange multiplier


MGmean group

PMGpooled mean group

SDGssustainable development goals

STIRPATstochastic impacts by regression on population, affluence and technology

UNFCCCUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

USAUnited States

VARvector autoregressive model

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Alola, A.A., Arikewuyo, A.O., Ozad, B. et al. A drain or drench on biocapacity? Environmental account of fertility, marriage, and ICT in the USA and Canada. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 4032–4043 (2020).

Download citation


  • Environmental sustainability
  • Biocapacity
  • Fertility rate
  • Marriage rate
  • ICT
  • United States
  • Canada