Our Ecological Footprint work was honored with two significant prizes last month in Rio de Janeiro.
On June 17, Japan’s Asahi Glass Foundation awarded the prestigious Blue Planet Prize to Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network’s president, and Bill Rees, Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, in recognition of their work in developing the Ecological Footprint accounting system. Thomas Lovejoy, Professor at George Mason University, shared the award for his pioneering work in biodiversity conservation, especially in his research on how human-caused habitat fragmentation causes biodiversity loss.
The Blue Planet Prize, established in 1992 to recognize scientific research that contributes to solving global environmental problems, is today regarded as one of the world’s premier environmental prizes. Wackernagel is donating his $300,000 share of the prize money to Global Footprint Network, and he invites supporters to help match this gift to further advance Ecological Footprint work.
Blue Planet Prize winners Mathis Wackernagel (far left),
Bill Rees (second from right) and Thomas Lovejoy (right)
Two days after the Blue Planet ceremony, which was covered generously by National Geographic, Wackernagel and Rees received the Kenneth E. Boulding Award, the world’s top honor in the field of ecological economics.
The Boulding Award is given every two years by the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) to “outstanding individuals who have contributed original and seminal approaches that have furthered our understanding of the interfaces between the social, ecological, ethical, economic and political dimensions of our world.”
“The Ecological Footprint is certainly one of the most important and influential measurement and communication tools of the century,” Bhutan Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley said in his congratulatory remarks at the ISEE conference. “It is without question one of the most powerful ways to put the responsibility for sustainability firmly on all our shoulders through awareness of every resource we consume and every nuance of our behaviours and lifestyles.”
(See the full text of the prime minister’s speech here.)
Global Footprint Network congratulates all three honorees for their work in helping the world chart a sustainable future. This global recognition of Ecological Footprint accounting and biodiversity loss will help spur governments to track resource trends and assess the value of ecological assets, identify the risks associated with ecological deficits, and set policy that is informed by ecological reality.
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