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.
Ecological Footprint in Ecuador, Continued Collaborations
As the first nation to incorporate the Ecological Footprint into its National Plan, Ecuador is committed to maintaining its Ecological Footprint at a level within what its ecosystems can renew. Yet this commitment came about only after becoming aware of their growing Ecological Footprint. Fifty years ago, Ecuador had over four times as much biocapacity than they used. A growing population and increased consumption put the nation in ecological deficit. Now Ecuador’s Ecological Footprint has exceeded its biocapacity. Ecuador’s per capita Footprint over the past half-century has doubled, while the population has more than tripled. This means that many more Ecuadorans are sharing the available ecological assets.
National leaders recognized this as a threat to their long-term economic security and decided to make reversing this trend a national priority. It adopted a Presidential mandate to manage ecological assets by incorporating indicators such as the Footprint to track ecological supply and demand, and inform sound long-term decision-making.
It was therefore fitting that Ecuador hosted the 2nd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism in September, part of a larger set of tourism-related events attended by representatives from 40 nations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The theme of the Congress—“conscious tourism”—underscored the increasing awareness of the tourist industry’s impact on communities and ecosystems. Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network, was invited by Ecuador’s Minister of Tourism Freddy Ehlers to give the keynote speech.
Mathis spoke about Ecological Footprint accounting and underscored the current trends toward ecological overshoot.
“We have limited resources and unlimited wants. We have to think about tourism within this reality. We do not want to decrease the growth of tourism, though we need to see to what extent it will produce opportunities or harm,” he said.
After the conference’s inaugural day, Mathis met with the heads of several government agencies, including the Minister of the Environment (Mercy Borbor) and the Minister of Non-Renewable Natural Resources-Mining & Oil, who expressed interest in Global Footprint Network’s work. Mathis emphasized the importance of signing the Interagency Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Environment, a three-year collaboration that follows up on our previous work with Ecuador.
Global Footprint Network and the Ministry of Environment will continue their collaboration by implementing a project called “Identification, Calculation and Mitigation of the Ecological Footprint for the Public Sector of Ecuador.” In November, Global Footprint Network will be hosting personnel from the Ministry of Environment to conduct technical training.
Here is Mathis giving an interview in Quito (in Spanish):