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About Global Footprint Network
Our mission is to promote a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a measurement tool that makes the reality of planetary limits relevant to decision-makers.

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Earth Overshoot Day gains celebrity status

August 2016 newsletter article 1

This month, hundreds of media outlets in more than 32 countries on every continent except Antarctica covered Earth Overshoot Day (August 8, 2016), the day by which humanity has spent the planet’s ecological budget for the year.

Earth Overshoot Day was featured on the front cover of USA Today and the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, as well as in Fast Company, National Geographic, The Guardian, the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Le Monde, The Hindu, O Globo, La Repubblica, and countless more. (See more media coverage here.)

Chelsea Clinton, Arianna Huffington and American actress Kirstie Alley also helped spread the word on Twitter. Virgin’s Richard Branson published a long blog post and made a #pledgefortheplanet to host a vegetarian dinner party.

In fact, our first public engagement campaign ever yielded 2,359 pledges by people around the world. We proudly announced the six winners of our #pledgefortheplanet photo contest (shown below). Let us know if you are one of them and claim your prize!

We want to thank all our partners who helped us make this possible. Here’s a special mention to The B Team, who provided unparalleled access to entrepreneurs with a strong sustainability agenda. Museu do Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, inspired us with their creativity and commitment to surf the strong wave of the Rio Olympic Games to address the Ecological Footprint in novel ways, including an event that reached 15,000 viewers through a Facebook live stream. Thank you!

We are also grateful to Tetra Pak North America for its second year of corporate support, as well as Ticket to the Moon and My Drop in the Oceans for the great hammock prizes and additional ways for individuals to engage to create a sustainable world.

Finally, our heartfelt thanks to the global network of WWF offices who supported our campaign around the world.

We’re committed to keeping this wave of awareness growing. We’re already looking forward to our biggest Earth Overshoot Day campaign yet in 2017. Stay tuned!

August 2016 newsletter article 2

Switzerland may soon incorporate a Footprint goal into its constitution, becoming the first country in the world to commit to one-planet living by 2050. Designed around the Ecological Footprint, this ballot initiative will be put to the voters on September 25.

Switzerland currently consumes four times what Swiss ecosystems can regenerate. And if everyone in the world lived like the Swiss, we would need close to three planets. Find out more about this historic initiative on our blog. The initiative is hotly contested, including by the government. We will keep you posted with updates!

August 2016 newsletter article 3

Could the world be on track to sustainable development? Three Hungarian economists believe so, after studying the Ecological Footprint intensity of 131 countries in the first decade of the 21st century. They found that by 2009, 50% less area was needed to produce a unit of GDP. In other words, the average of the world’s Ecological Footprint intensity had halved over the studied period. Also 90% of the countries studied had started to move in the direction of sustainable development. This shift is encouraging, although there is still a long way to go, as global overshoot continues to increase.

"Results make us optimistic," co-authors Cecilia Szigeti, Gergely Toth and Daniel Robert Szaboc write. "Among the studied 131 countries, 40 experienced [30%] strong decoupling (absolute decrease of resource use), in 77 countries [59%] weak decoupling occurred (relative decrease of resource use), and there were only 14 countries [11%] where no decoupling could be observed (relative increase of resource use)." Read their findings in "Decoupling – shifts in ecological footprint intensity of nations in the last decade."

August 2016 newsletter article 4

Earlier this month, we released the Korea Ecological Footprint Report with WWF Korea to raise sustainability awareness among decision-makers and the public and call for innovative action. Korea, a country that has driven rapid development to become a world-class technology leader, is the eighth largest contributor to the world’s carbon Footprint. The carbon Footprint also makes up 73% of Korea’s own Ecological Footprint, substantially larger than the world average of 60%. Another key finding is that fisheries are the largest component of Korea’s biocapacity and on average, Korean residents have a Footprint eight times larger than what their country’s ecosystems can provide. Learn more about Korea’s Footprint from the full report available in English or Korean.

August 2016 newsletter article 5

Back to School with the Footprint Calculator

From anthropology to sustainability courses in universities worldwide, educators are tapping the Ecological Footprint calculator to spark thought-provoking discussions about population, development, and solutions. The calculator "helps students understand the relevance of sustainability and global ecological overshoot to their own lives and careers, making them realize that sustainability and climate change is their problem too—and not something to leave to 'someone else,’" says Kirsten Balding from RMIT University. Read more in our blog post.

August 2016 newsletter article 6

On 7 August, this country busted its annual ecological budget—its citizens’ demand for food, wood and carbon dioxide absorption began to exceed what the country’s ecosystems can renew over the full year. Trade is a fact of life in our globalized economy, but just as a trade deficit can be a risk, so can an ecological deficit. 

This nation is one of the oldest on Earth and has been a world leader throughout history in several aspects of culture (cuisine, philosophy, art, fashion, etc.). About 10 per cent of this large country is set aside to preserve the open space and wildlife they contain. 

Now, can you identify this country?

Find the answer by clicking here

August 2016 newsletter article 7

Attention California friends: Learn more about leading a sustainable lifestyle by attending the Green Festival in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Green Festivals is offering you a special 20% off your ticket when you use the code: GFN16. The LA Green Fest runs from Sept. 16-18 and more information is available at The SF Green Fest runs Nov. 11-13 and more information is available at