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The Ecological Footprint at Rio+20
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Footprint Network Blog
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.
A round-up of other Footprint and sustainability news from across the globe, plus a few blog posts you might have missed.
Study’s key findings of ecological, economic crises » Global Footprint Network has published the key findings of a two-year study investigating the economic implications of resource constraints in the Mediterranean region. “Why Are Resource Limits Now Undermining Economic Performance?” reports that virtually every Mediterranean country demands more ecological resources and services than local ecosystems can provide. To cover the widening gap between supply and demand, the region is increasingly relying on global resources, of which there are less. Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean Initiative was launched in June 2010 with the support of MAVA Foundation and in partnership with Plan Bleu, WWF’s Mediterranean Programme and UNESCO Venice Office. Global Footprint Network will release its full report on the initiative’s findings in October at a two-day conference in Venice, Italy.
New Africa, Asia regional reports » Global Footprint Network data supported two regional Footprint reports that WWF published with multilateral development finance institutions. “The Africa Ecological Footprint Report: Green Infrastructure for Africa’s Ecological Security,”
published with African Development Bank (AfDB), reports a decline of nearly 40 percent in Africa’s biodiversity over the last four decades. The benchmark study, covered by the French newspaper Le Monde, Voice of America and other media, also offers recommendations on implementing the green economy concept through improved infrastructure investments (see our special brief for highlights of the WWF-AfDB report and Africa’s trends). “Ecological Footprint and Investment in Natural Capital in Asia,” produced by WWF and the Asian Development Bank, reports that available natural resources in the Asia-Pacific region are dwindling and focuses on ways of preserving key large-scale regional ecosystems.
Switzerland adopts Footprint accounting » The Swiss Federal Statistical Office adopted the Ecological Footprint in 2006 as an official indicator, and has incorporated Ecological Footprint data into its comprehensive 2012 Sustainable Development Report. The stated goal of the report is “to provide an overview of sustainable development in Switzerland over the past 20 years and to present the monitoring system developed in Switzerland to measure sustainable development as an example of “good practice.”
São Paulo’s Footprint » Using Global Footprint Network methodology, WWF-Brazil, EcosSistemas and the city and state of São Paulo completed São Paulo’s Ecological Footprint study. As the largest city in Latin America, São Paulo’s Footprint is instructive—one conclusion of the study was that if everyone on Earth were to consume the way São Paulo state inhabitants do, two planets would be needed to sustain their lifestyles, and if everyone lived like people in São Paulo city do, 2.5 planets would be needed. Cities are beginning to use the tool to have a better understanding of their demands on ecological resources and services. Last year, Campo Grande was the first Brazilian city to undertake the calculation and Global Footprint Network did a project with the city of Curitiba.
French national public radio report » Parlez-vous français? Planète Terre (Planet Earth), a Radio France International program, discussed the Ecological Footprint with guests Aurélien Boutaud, doctor of science and environmental engineering and Natacha Gondran, senior lecturer in environmental management, ENS Mines Saint-Etienne.
2012 Happy Planet Index Report » As indicators of human flourishing, Gross Domestic Product and wealth are extremely limited. The Happy Planet Index, published by the British think tank and Global Footprint Network partner new economics foundation, measures sustainable well-being and ranks 151 countries based on their efficiency—the “extent to which each nation produces long and happy lives per unit of environmental input.” In the report, Costa Rica comes out in the lead, while the United States ranked 105. The Ecological Footprint is one of three component measures—the other two being life expectancy and experienced well-being—that the Happy Planet Index tracks.
Why you should read our blog » In case you missed it the first time: German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), a Global Footprint Network partner, brought the Ecological Footprint to the masses with an interactive exhibit at the main Frankfurt train station, our team was on the ground advancing our Ecological Footprint work at Rio+20, a brother and sister in Hungary launched a crowd-sourcing funding campaign to support a beautiful children’s iPad app with a sustainability message, and we weighed in on The Future We Want after Rio+20.
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