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Issue 29, July 3, 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

The Future We Need

Letter from the Editor: The Future We Need

As the world’s leading resource accountant, Global Footprint Network measures trends. Too often, our data reveals worrisome trends. The Ecological Footprint accounting tool, the gold standard for measuring how much biocapacity we have and how much we use, shows most countries—and the entire world—going further into ecological overshoot. It was a message we delivered repeatedly at the Rio+20 Earth Summit last month.

We see other trends, too—trends that give hope, trends that make us believe that we can still reverse the tide. Sometimes, they are hard to recognize. Amid the gloom of recent weeks, for example, anyone would have been hard-pressed to remain optimistic. Consider, first, the headlines.

Honors for Ecological Footprint work

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 Ecological Footprint at Rio+20

As people move on from the suspense, excitement, and sometimes disappointment that was Rio+20, at least one thing is clear to us—the Ecological Footprint is more important than ever in a world where international cooperation on sustainable development has not delivered everything the world hoped it would.

Global Footprint Network Science Coordinator Kyle Gracey (far right) at the Eye on Earth Panel

What happens when an infinite-growth economy runs into a finite planet?

Debt boils over. Energy trumps safety. Biodiversity is for sale. And more.

Resource consumption trends put us on an ecological collision course, risking economic and social stability as we bump up against natural limits. Working within nature’s budget builds the foundation for securing our future. Read our 2011 Annual Report to learn more. 


Living Planet Report: Our planet’s latest report card generates widespread coverage

Six weeks ago, André Kuipers, a European Space Agency astronaut, was in a unique vantage point to observe humanity’s impact on the planet. “From space,” he said from the International Space Station, “you see the forest fires, you see the air pollution, you see erosion.”

Kuipers offered his observation as part of the official launch of WWF’s Living Planet Report 2012, the leading biennial survey of Earth’s health produced in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and the Zoological Society of London. Using Global Footprint Network’s updated National Footprint Accounts, the central data set that calculates humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and services they provide, the report’s conclusions are daunting.

Competitiveness 2.0: A Q&A with Robert Rapier

Energy expert Robert Rapier, the Chief Technology Officer at Merica International, writes and speaks about issues involving energy and the environment. Merica , a privately held energy company, is involved in a wide variety of projects, with a core focus on the localized use of biomass to energy for the benefit of local populations.
In this second of a two-part series on Competitiveness 2.0, one of Global Footprint Network’s strategic programs, the Consumer Energy Report columnist and author of “Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil” explains below how energy constraints are becoming so central to a nation’s competitiveness.

Footprint Briefs

A round-up of other Footprint and sustainability news from across the globe, plus a few blog posts you might have missed.