A new report released by Global Footprint Network and WWF Canada reveals that while Canada is endowed with abundant natural resources, it also has the 4th highest Ecological Footprint per person of all nations. According to the Canadian Living Planet Report 2007, if everyone consumed like Canadians we would need 4.3 Earths to support us.
Canada has one of the highest living standards in the world, as measured by the UN Human Development Index, but as the report points out, ‘we don’t need to consume as much as we do to maintain our excellent standard of living.’
Results reveal that, with an Ecological Footprint of 7.6 global hectares per person, Canada is using resources and turning them into waste faster than nature can regenerate those resources. The report details the changing nature of our planet and describes how our planetary bank account is currently being overdrawn. The report uses both the Living Planet Index (which measures trends in biodiversity) and Ecological Footprint (which measures the area of biologically productive land and water we use to sustain our activities) to indicate how Canada fares on a global scale .
“As natural resources dwindle around the world, Canada is in a good position strategically because it is endowed with great amounts of biocapacity” said Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network’s Executive Director. “However, it is important for Canada to manage it’s biocapacity carefully. In a per capita terms, Canada has only about half the biocapacity it had in the 1960s.”
Canadians will need to focus on shrinking their Ecological Footprint in order to decrease their demand on nature and to work towards sustainable living. The report recommends that Canadian’s “cut the earth some slack” and work towards One Planet Living by embracing changes in politics, consumption patterns and energy use.
Canada is the Birthplace of the Ecological Footprint
Ecological Footprint was first conceived in Canada at the University of British Colombia where Mathis Wackernagel developed his PhD dissertation under the direction of Professor William Rees. Mathis later founded Global Footprint Network, which co-authored the report and provides the data and research behind the Ecological Footprint numbers. Global Footprint Network is working with many partners in Canada including the City of Calgary, the City of Vancouver, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Bioregional North America and Anielski Management.