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Issue 28, May 2, 2012  

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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.

Advisory Council
E.O. Wilson
Manfred Max-Neef
Rhodri Morgan
David Suzuki
Emil Salim
Julia Marton-Lefèvre
William E. Rees
Lester Brown
Jorgen Randers
M S Swaminathan
Daniel Pauly
Eric Garcetti
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
Michael Meacher
Karl-Henrik Robèrt
Will Steffen
Dominique Voynet
Fabio Feldman
Oscar Arias
Peter Raven
Mick Bourke
Norman Myers
Gus Speth
Stephen Groff
Thomas E. Lovejoy

Tools, Technology and Resource Limits

A Letter From the Editor

Forty years later, “Limits to Growth” is as compelling—and controversial—as ever.

The Club of Rome and a Smithsonian consortium co-hosted a daylong symposium this March marking the 40th anniversary of the book, a landmark study of unchecked economic and population growth in a world of finite resources. A few weeks later, in a blog posting that sparked some debate around the Internet, a senior Smithsonian magazine editor quoted a physicist’s warnings that the data of recent decades proved that “Limits to Growth” trend projections were spot on, and that we were heading toward a major global depression by 2030.

Brazil Television Starts New Season with the Footprint

For more than 25 years, “Globo Ecologio” (Portuguese for “World Environment”) has sat comfortably at No. 1 in terms of the highest-rated TV show on nature and environmental issues in Brazil. The nationally broadcast show airs on Brazil’s popular Globo Network, which reaches 99.50 percent of potential viewers, “practically the entire Brazilian population,” according to the network. In its season premiere, the show features the Ecological Footprint, Global Footprint Network partner, ecosSISTEMAS, and an interview with Footprint co-founder, Mathis Wackernagel.

“This first episode will show what Brazil is doing in order to decrease its Footprint,” the show’s producers said in a press release.

Globo Ecologia is broadcasted both in Globo Network Brasil and Globo Network International, which reaches 114 countries and five continents.

Competitiveness 2.0: A Q&A with André Schneider

André Schneider, through his consultancy, André Schneider Global Advisory, partners with Global Footprint Network on one of our strategic programs, Competitiveness 2.0.

Building on Schneider’s 10+ years as Managing Director and COO at the World Economic Forum, together we are well positioned to engage senior administrators and economic decision-makers on how to succeed in the new era of resource constraints.

André  Schneider explains why he believes resource constraints are becoming so central to a nation’s competitiveness.


Rich List with a Twist

The Post Growth Institute, an international group that explores sustainable paths to global prosperity, has a new website that upends popular definitions of wealth and enrichment.

Inspired by Forbes magazine’s annual Rich List, Post Growth’s (En)Rich List questions the media’s infatuation with monetary wealth, while celebrating 100 intellectuals, economists, scientists and others who have devoted their lives to advancing social equity and ecological sustainability.

Turkey Footprint Report Launched in Istanbul

While Turkey’s average per capita Ecological Footprint has remained fairly stable since 1961, population growth pushed the Mediterranean country from ecological creditor to debtor status 38 years ago, according to a new report that Global Footprint Network and WWF-Turkey presented on March 6 at Istanbul’s historic SALT Galata research and exhibition center.

Today, Turkey demands more than twice the renewable resources than its ecosystems can sustainably produce, or biocapacity. The balance of countries’ resource needs are met by eating into their own natural capital or by accessing biocapacity from elsewhere. Running such biocapacity deficits is becoming risky as the world as a whole is already in ecological overshoot.

New Directors Join Global Footprint Network

Global Footprint Network filled two key leadership positions this quarter. Geoff Trotter, a former partner and Chief Knowledge Officer at Ernst & Young, was named Vice President of Operations. Geoff will see oversee all operational aspects of Global Footprint Network. Kath Delaney, the founder and CEO of Madera Group, was appointed Director of External Affairs.  Kath will lead project and fund development, and the growth of the organization’s global partner network.

TED Debate: Can Technology Save Us from Ecological Overshoot?

Have we overexploited the Earth’s resources for so long that crisis is now not only inevitable, but just a few decades away? Or, is our ingenuity and technological know-how so great that we can overcome even Mother Nature’s limits?

These competing perspectives on the health of our planet and our willingness to address humanity’s growing demands upon it were on stage at the opening of this spring’s annual TED conference in Long Beach, California.

Paul Gilding: The Earth is full

Together, sustainability advisor and former Greenpeace International CEO Paul Gilding and tech entrepreneur turned philanthropist Peter Diamandis offered a fascinating exchange of narratives that, while sharing confidence in our ability to avert catastrophic ecological and economic change, were at stark odds over the existence of the threat and our need to prepare for a decline.

To Gilding, the Earth is full. Full of us, full of our stuff, and full of our demands. We have overwhelmed our planet’s capacity to provide for us, and after ignoring the warning signs for decades, we are nearing a major and now certain economic crisis.

“We are in danger, all of us,” he says.

Scientific Journal Devotes Edition to Ecological Footprint

Ecological Indicators, a leading scientific journal covering ecological and environmental indicators and their role in management practices, is publishing a special issue this month devoted to the Ecological Footprint.

Researchers and scientists around the world, including three Global Footprint Network scientists, contributed 18 articles discussing Ecological Footprint theory and methodology, its use with other ecological indicators, trends and related topics. The articles were originally submitted as research papers for a June 2010 Global Footprint Network partner conference near Siena, Italy.