Making a Difference: Sustainability is Now More Important Than Ever

Susan Burns and Mathis Wackernagel, Founders, Global Footprint Network - 12/01/2015 12:10 AM

This is the final post in a series titled “Making A Difference” where we highlight a different voice each week. See our full list here.

Throughout 2015, we have been eagerly awaiting the climate talks in Paris that began this week. Recent events have expanded the conversation to restoring peace, security and safety. To live in harmony and peace, however, we need to ensure a healthy world that guarantees all people have basic resource security. The link between climate change and national security continues to be more important than ever.

Political and environmental stability are closely linked. For example, an extreme drought in Syria led to massive crop loss and over 1.5 million people migrating from their farms to cities. This exacerbated political unrest in Syria.

Given this backdrop, we at Global Footprint Network are re-doubling our efforts to bring solutions to governments who seek to provide secure lives for their citizens while protecting the natural capital that their communities depend upon. We are proud of our 12-year history of raising awareness globally about ecological overshoot and providing tools that will help people to thrive within our planet’s limits.

During 2015, we have empowered cities and nations around the world to take action towards natural resource sustainability and resilience. We’re happy to share some of our highlights for the year:

  • Guiding the Vision for an “Eco-civilization” in China: We are helping Guizhou Province, one of China’s most biodiverse and low-income provinces, to chart a course toward President Xi Jinping’s vision of China as an “ecological civilization.” 
  • Raising Sustainability Awareness in the United States: We measured the sustainability performance of the 50 United States for the first time, attracting media coverage in National Geographic.
  • Resource Awareness in the Mediterranean: We calculated the Ecological Footprints—or resource and consumption—of 17 cities throughout the Mediterranean, providing such critical information as food supply and needs throughout the region.

Nature is the basis of our true wealth and only through a revolution in the way we account for and invest in natural capital will we have a chance of providing true security for the world’s people.

Thank you so much for your continued commitment to Global Footprint Network’s mission and its applications around the world.


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