Ecological Footprint Image Blue Footprint Network News
Issue 37, October 15, 2014  

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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

Biodiversity Alerts

The latest issue of the Living Planet Report, WWF's flagship biennial publication produced in partnership with Global Footprint Network, attracted major media attention when it launched last month. The findings that we have lost more than half of vertebrate wildlife populations in just 40 years while humanity’s demand on nature has exceeded what our planet can replenish over the same period were picked up by many top news organizations around the world. That includes CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde, Reuters and China's news agency Xinhua. Our favorite Ecological Footprint graphic was an interactive one created by the Sydney Morning Herald, which included data from all over the world.

The Living Planet Report serves many audiences, from policy makers to the scientific community to individuals seeking to live within the means of nature. Another tool in our toolbox is the personal Footprint calculator, which reaches more than 1 million people per year. While that’s a large number, our vision is for the calculator to motivate millions more people to reduce their personal Footprint, from school children to elected officials. Because our online calculator is not easily accessible to the more than 1 billion people who own smartphones, we have decided to develop a mobile app version of the calculator. Our conservative estimate is that it would enable us to double our reach.

To raise money for this project, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign Oct. 27 as part of the Skoll Foundation's Social Entrepreneurs Challenge. We stand to receive more than $30,000 in matching funds from the Skoll Foundation if certain fundraising goals are met. During the six-week campaign, we will be sending out short weekly emails to update you on our progress. Stay tuned for more details Oct. 27, when we hope you will help us spread the word! And if you haven’t tried our calculator, check it out at

Ecological Footprint in Action

The latest example of how the Footprint methodology can directly impact local communities comes to us from India, where Global Footprint Network is partnering with NGOs on a sustainable human development project in the eastern state of Odisha (pictured above). As part of the 18-month program, we will work with up to 12 rural communities, including low-income, tribal villages, potentially impacting more than 2,000 villagers.

There are two main goals, as Pragyan Bharati, Global Footprint Network’s India director, explains: "One is to empower local communities to own, negotiate, and manage their own socio-economic development. Secondly, we intend to measure donor agency investments against both local development goals and global sustainability development goals." Follow the full conversation with her here.

From Our Research Department

This week we joined our partner, WWF-Russia, in launching the first-ever Russia Footprint Report, which highlights Russia’s need to carefully manage its advantageous ecological position. Russia’s ecological surplus has been increasing, due to a decreasing population and declining total demand for renewable resources. However, per-person resource use has still grown since 1998 and is above the world average available biocapacity of 1.8 global hectares per person (based on 2009 data, the latest available at the time of the report). If everyone on the planet lived the lifestyle of the average Russian, humanity would need more than two Earths to sustain this demand. If managed well, Russia’s favorable biocapacity situation offers strong opportunities; if not, these advantages could be eroded over time.

In other news, Global Footprint Network's researchers were among 51 experts from more than 30 institutions tasked with assessing progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, set in 2010 for 2020 by 193 nations under the auspices of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Their conclusions, published this month in Science: Despite many positive developments, it is unlikely that most of the targets will be met by 2020 if we remain on our current trajectory. Find out here how the Aichi Biodiversity Targets progress provides a rather fascinating echo to the themes in the Living Planet Report.

To raise awareness, the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP) launched the Aichi Passport mobile app last week to keep you abreast of the latest information and developments regarding the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Take a look if you are an iPhone or an Android user.

From Our Blog

If you live in Geneva, using the Swiss Footprint calculator is one of many ways you now can earn DIO, a new electronic currency designed to shift the economy towards valuing natural capital. DIO was developed by My Drop in the Oceans, a Swiss NGO who has attracted serious talents, including Bernard Lietaer, the man who co-designed and implemented the European monetary system. Launched last month in Geneva, the new currency system aims to reach a global scale. Read here to learn how you can participate.

California's groundwater is no more free-for-all. The bills signed into law last month by Governor Jerry Brown mark a definitive departure from the Gold Rush mentality that had been prevailing over the management of that most precious and increasingly rare resource: fresh water. Read the story of how an exceptional drought has woken up California to the importance of stewardship of the Commons.