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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
Wangari Maathai
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
Herman E. Daly
Peter Raven
Mick Bourke
Norman Myers
Gus Speth

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Mathis Wackernagel
In nearly every newspaper, from California to Australia, you can find a reference to the "Carbon Footprint." It has become an enormously popular term as we rush to stem global warming, and to find alternative energy sources that won't harm the climate. This is great news.

The Carbon Footprint is 50% of humanity's overall Ecological Footprint, and global warming is one of the most visible symptoms we've seen to-date of the larger problem humanity is facing: ever-increasing, global ecological overshoot.

Ecological overshoot means that humanity is living beyond the planet's ability to sustain us. Today the focus is on carbon, but climate change is happening as we approach other critical limits as well, in fisheries, forests, cropland, and water. Unless we focus on ending overshoot as a whole-systems problem, some of our solutions to climate change could cause large, unintended impacts.

For example, in Brazil, sugarcane plantations used for ethanol production are being linked to air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation.

And in Borneo and Sumatra, large areas of tropical forest are being cleared to make room for palm oil plantations, which is destroying the habitat of endangered species, in particular, the orangutan.

The Ecological Footprint was created to ensure that addressing a singular issue, like global warming, doesn't negatively impact entire ecosystems or shift pressures from one land type onto another.

At Global Footprint Network, we are building worldwide commitment to ending ecological overshoot and we are committed to finding ways to move out of carbon that reduce humanity's Ecological Footprint, overall. It will require new levels of engagement, increased partnerships, and additional staff to meet the rising interest in, and opportunities for our work.

It also means asking people like you-who know our work and believe in our mission-to support our efforts. With your support, we can play big.
  • We can engage with leading scientists to identify the best solutions for addressing climate change and provide guidance to decision makers and concerned citizens.
  • We can replicate the research collaborations we have established with the governments of Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, and others so that entire countries are assessing their Carbon Footprint as part of the bigger whole.
  • We can engage more national governments and international agencies in our Ten-in-Ten campaign-an effort to institutionalize the Ecological Footprint in at least ten nations by 2015.
Never before has the Ecological Footprint been more relevant or had a chance like this to make an impact.

Please join us by contributing your financial support. Your contribution will help us make the most of this rare moment, when so much of the world seems to be listening and so many people are poised to take steps toward ending overshoot.

Simply click here to make a secure donation on-line or print a contribution form to send a gift by mail. If you would like to make a wire transfer, or make a donation of stock, please contact us at and we will happily help with the arrangements.

Help us make sure that all these good efforts don't end up just being a displacement, but rather that they lead us-powerfully-along our way.


Mathis Wackernagel
Executive Director
Global Footprint Network