“We asked, in guaranteeing the rights of Mother Earth, what would be the most comprehensive indicators we could have? The Ecological Footprint brings together multiple factors that support preserving natural wealth and recognize the impacts that consumption and development patterns have on different areas.”
Dania Quirola Suarez, environment advisor, Ecuador
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The most biologically diverse country in the world, Ecuador was once a place where natural wealth vastly exceeded what the population demanded to support its activities and absorb its CO2 emissions. Today, that surplus has all but evaporated, and the country’s Ecological Footprint is almost equal to biocapacity.
That is why, in 2009, Ecuador launched a program to keep its country in the ecological black. It has committed its National Plan to maintain its Ecological Footprint at a level within what its ecosystems can renew. It has also adopted a Presidential mandate to manage ecological assets by developing physical indicators such as the Footprint to track ecological supply and demand, and inform sound long-term decision-making.
At the Footprint Forum 2010 Public Day in Colle di Val d’Elsa, Italy, environment official Dania Quirola discussed why that commitment is important to Ecuador—and the world.
Officials are walking the talk. Ecuador recently launched Yasuní ITT: an ambitious initiative to preserve one million acres of the Amazon rainforest by keeping the country’s largest undeveloped oil reserve—846 million barrels worth—permanently in the ground. The plan will keep 407 metric tones of CO2 out of the atmosphere, maintain a key source of Ecuador’s natural wealth, and safeguard the livelihood of indigenous cultures from the region.
“In this way, we can move from an extractive economy to sustainable development, that includes broader use of energy sources and increasing social equity,” Suarez said.
Here is Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel during his September 2012 trip to Ecudaor:
For more, visit Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment website.