Celebration and expectations on Earth Day 2015
April Newsletter article 1
Earth Day’s 45th anniversary is being celebrated today around the world. On this day—less than one-third into the calendar year—humanity has used about half of all renewable natural resources and services that the planet can generate this year, according to Global Footprint Network’s data.
Despite this sobering fact, let’s not lose sight of the many signs that a perfect storm is brewing for 2015 to be the most exciting year for sustainability to date. From China cutting coal imports nearly in half to Oregon students suing to protect the planet to consumers buying more electric vehicles, so much is happening around the world that we can’t help but ask, could Earth Day 2015 be the tipping point? Read more about these and other reasons for our optimism.
We are also pleased to announce that Earth Day Network has partnered with Global Footprint Network and Art Works for Change, and is issuing a call to artists to create art to raise awareness of our planet’s finite resources ahead of Global Footprint Network’s Earth Overshoot Day campaign in August. The online exhibition will feature curated art as well as submissions from the public in response to our call for artists, which can be found here.
Photograph by Daniel Beltrá, one of nearly a dozen artists who already have signed on to Global Footprint Network and Art Works for Change’s online exhibition planned for Earth Overshoot Day 2015 in August. © Daniel Beltrá, courtesy of Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago.
April Newsletter article 2
Derek Eaton, Ph.D., has joined our team as Vice President of Research. He brings over 20 years of experience undertaking research that informs and drives decision makers at the national and international level, including as a core member of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Initiative. Born in Canada, he says he learned early as a boy how to respect, rely on, and co-exist with nature during countless family canoe trips in the wilderness. In a blog conversation, he shares how those experiences led him to embrace a career in sustainable development. He also candidly reflects on the challenges he has encountered in the field, and on the many developments indicating that change for the better is ongoing. And he explains what brought him to Global Footprint Network. Read more
Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network, is in Florence, Italy, this week to receive the IAIA Global Environment Award for developing the Ecological Footprint. "The Global Environment Award is presented annually to a leading individual or institution that has made a substantial contribution to the practice of environmental assessment, management or policy at a global scale," according to the International Association for Impact Assessment. This global network believes, in its own words, that "the assessment of the environmental, social, economic, cultural, and health implications for proposals is a critical contribution to sound decision-making processes, and to equitable and sustainable development." IAIA is recognizing the Ecological Footprint for efficiently "translating the complexity of humanity’s impact on the environment into a compelling, understandable and actionable form."
April Newsletter article 3
Our new LinkedIn Group for Global Footprint Network Partners just launched! We feel it is a fantastic platform to help our partners connect on Footprint-related topics and to share their knowledge. Please check out our first discussion topic on City Footprinting and help us kick it off by liking the post and commenting to fuel an exchange of ideas. The more content and activity on the platform, the more valuable it will be for all of us.
The Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE) published a report on Stranded Assets and Subcritical Coal: Risks to Investors and Implications for Policymakers (PDF). In this first research phase, SSEE has analyzed the least efficient, known as subcritical, coal-fired power stations globally and identified the ones most at risk of stranding due to their carbon intensity and deleterious effects on local air pollution and water stress. The research also shows which countries these power plants are located in and which companies own them. Companies are then ranked by their exposure to the stranding of these assets.
We are proud to be an active member of the global stranded assets research network hosted by SSEE. We look forward to sharing the results from our own research on the exposure of national economies to stranded assets later this fall. Stay tuned.
April Newsletter article 4
Food Footprinting in the Mediterranean
In an article recently published in the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies’ (CIHEAM) quarterly Watch Letter, Global Footprint Network researchers analyzed the contribution of the food sector to the Ecological Footprint of Mediterranean countries. With all countries in the region running a biocapacity deficit, their Footprint is higher than their biocapacity, the contribution of food consumption ranged from 20 percent (Slovenia) to 70 percent (Morocco) of a country’s overall Ecological Footprint.
One interesting finding is that although Portuguese and Egyptian citizens consume a similar number of calories per person, Portugal’s food Footprint is more than twice as large as Egypt’s. This is due to Portugal’s protein-rich diet and high consumption of meat and fish products, which make up 60 percent of the nation’s food Footprint per person. Countries’ various dietary habits and corresponding food Footprints are shown in the graphic below. Read more about our researchers’ findings here or attend a presentation on this topic at the Expo Milan on May 23, 24, or 25, to be given by Dr. Alessandro Galli, a co-author of the article and Director of Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean and MENA regions.
April Newsletter article 5
This month, we're launching a new feature spotlighting a mystery Ecological Footprint and biocapacity graph and offering a hint to see if you can identify the nation.
Earlier in April, this European country went into national deficit on Easter Sunday. This country will also play host to a large exposition next month in a city famous for its fashion trendsetting. (Find the answer at the bottom of the newsletter.)
April Newsletter article 6
New Licensing Attracts Downloads from 70 Nations
The 2015 Edition of the National Footprint Accounts, which was released one month ago for non-commercial use through a free, easily downloadable Public Data Package, got more than 500 downloads in its first 30 days—compared with 392 for all of last year. We are excited to see that our efforts to open the licensing structure and improve free access are paying off. To date, downloads have originated from 70 countries. Academia is the largest group of licensees with 65 percent of all downloads.
The NFA 2015 Public Data Package features the latest (2011) Footprint and biocapacity results per capita by land type for 182 countries in a highly sortable spreadsheet. Check it out at www.footprintnetwork.org/public2015.
April Newsletter article 7
Mediterranean Footprints & Foodprints:
Who should go on a diet?
Dr. Alessandro Galli
Director of Med. & MENA Regions
Global Footprint Network
Expo Milano: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life
Register to attend: May 23, 24, and 25