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VOLUME 1, ISSUE 12  


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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
 
 
"Measuring progress towards sustainability is a complex, but important process. The ecological footprinting approach is a promising step forward."

-Alexander de Roo, former MEP, Vice Chair of the Environment, Public Health, and Consumer Committee, European Parliament


Our Newsletter has a new Blog feature

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading news about the Ecological Footprint from around the world, and now, you can participate in the conversation. Please share your thoughts, reactions and commentary on any one of our newsletter stories. Just click on the “comments” link at the bottom of each story to contribute to our blog. You can also visit the blog page by clicking on the “Footprint Network Blog” box in the upper-right of each newsletter, and through the Resources section of our website. We welcome your participation and insights!

 
Ecological Debt Day

Saturday, October 6 marked Ecological Debt Day - the day when humanity has consumed all the resources the planet will produce this year.

Ecological Debt Day highlights the fact that humanity is living off its ecological credit card. Just as spending more money than you have in the bank leads to financial debt, ecological overshoot, or using more resources than the planet can renew in a year, accumulates an ecological debt. This can go on for a short time, but ultimately it leads to a build up of waste and the depletion of the very resources on which the human economy depends.


 
Why the Number of Feet Matters

A recent feature on population in the Economist discusses economic challenges when a nation’s population falls.  In this feature, “How to deal with a falling population”, 28 July 2007, the Economist tries to minimize concerns about world population by saying that we are “hardly near the point of [resource] exhaustion”.

The Economist received a flood of letters insisting that rising world population and resource depletion are indeed serious problems.  So many comments were sent in that the Economist published a follow-up piece, Population and its discontents: Lighten the footprint but keep the feet. This too highlighted deep misunderstandings about the relationship between population and humanity’s demand on our biosphere, and in particular, confusing population growth rates and population size.


 
PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
   
Welcome - The Center for a New American Dream

We are thrilled to welcome our new partner the Center for a New American Dream. The Center has long had a major influence in North America, helping people to examine consumerism, live better lives and make a difference. Author Bill McKibbin recently said: “The Center for a New American Dream has hit on just the right mission and just the right tone: we can live happier lives, and when we do our communities, human and natural, will prosper as a result.”

Global Footprint Network is excited to have a new partner so experienced with connecting with the American public to add value to our partner community.


 
FEATURE
   
   Author Carsten Henningson of Portfolio 21  
 
Managing Ecological Investment Risk

There is one complex term to describe our future: limited biocapacity. The earth’s limited biocapacity is the greatest challenge we face as investors and as humans. We are already facing it, but the severity of its effects depends on where you live and how much money you have.

The planet provides some amazing ecosystem services for our economy. It recycles our polluted air and dirty water; it provides timber, cropland, and many other raw materials and support services. When I was born in 1960, the ecological footprint of the world economy consumed about half of the earth’s resource capacity. In other words, our 1960 world economy consumed less than what the earth was able to renew, recycle, or produce as ecosystem services. Twenty five years later the ecological footprint of the world economy doubled. In 1985, we hit the threshold of using everything the planet could renew, recycle, or produce each year. If the ecological footprint of our world economy had stayed at this level, society’s demand on nature would be in balance with nature’s capacity to meet that demand-assuming we had transitioned from oil to renewable energy. But that’s not what happened.


 
RESEARCH AND STANDARDS UPDATE
   
Second Public Comment Period opens for National Footprint Accounts

Global Footprint Network’s National Accounts Committee is charged with recommending updates to the data and methods used in the National Footprint Accounts, a central database that calculates the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity of 150 nations from 1961 through the present.

Beginning October 15th, the National Accounts Committee is opening a public comment period concerning three sets of recommendations:

1)  A change to the nuclear equivalency method for calculating the nuclear Footprint.
2)  The inclusion of carbon emissions from non-fossil fuel sources.
3)  A series of seven updates to individual data sources used in the accounts.

To comment on these recommendations, please take this survey. The comment period will be open until November 15th.

 
Europe’s leading sustainability research institutes sign Consensus Statement

There are a variety of tools available for national material flow accounting including the Ecological Footprint, MIPS, Environmental Space, and others. In August, some of Europe’s leading research institutes aligned behind a common agenda to strengthen resource accounting because, in their words: “Providing for the well-being of a still growing world population within the limits of a finite planet is the key challenge for our future. Physical accounts and derived indicators are indispensable monitoring and analysis tools to understand and manage material flows through our economies. They are necessary for Europe to reach one central goal: to become the most resource and energy efficient region in the world - a region that maintains, rather than liquidates, natural capital.”

Read the consensus statement

 
We’re Hiring!

As we continue to grow, we have a need for talented and dedicated people to lead our cutting edge programs. Working for Global Footprint Network provides exiting opportunities to work with partner organizations all over the world, and to experience the satisfaction of having world wide impact. If you know people who would be a good fit, please visit our website.