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About the 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
 


Special Announcement
 
 
Living Planet Report
Living Planet Report 2004 Challenges us to Reverse Global Trends
 
At a special event in the 'Palais des Nations' of Geneva, Switzerland, WWF International today released its fifth Living Planet Report using scientific analysis provided by Global Footprint Network. Using the Ecological Footprint, a measure of human demand on the planet's ecological assets, the Living Planet Report 2004 offers important information for reversing current trends.
 

Humanity's Ecological Footprint, 1961-2001
 
The report confirms that ecological overshoot has become a reality: humanity is now consuming over 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can produce, causing rapid declines in wild animal populations.
It is possible to exceed ecological limits for a time, but this 'deficit spending' leads to the destruction of ecological assets on which our economy depends. The consequences have included depleted groundwater, collapsing fisheries, CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, and deforestation.


Living Planet Index, 1970-2000
 
The 2004 report includes more sophisticated data sets, more detailed time trends, and more robust results than years past. Data provided by Global Footprint Network show that humanity's Ecological Footprint grew by 150 percent between 1961 and 2000, leading to an ecological overshoot starting in the 1980s. During the same time period, the report's Living Planet Index shows a 40 percent decline in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species populations. Evidence suggests that as humanity's Footprint grows, the world's wild populations shrink.
 

Report statistics reinforce the need to address growing social discrepancies in order to keep the planet livable for all. "One of the most important findings," says Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, a lead researcher of the report and executive director of Global Footprint Network, "is that from 1991 to 2001, essentially the ten years after the United Nations Rio conference in 1992, the Footprint in the 27 wealthiest countries increased by 8 per cent per person, while in the middle and low income countries, it shrank by 8 per cent per person. This is exactly the opposite of what Rio promised."
 
By identifying the biggest impacts, the report also points to the biggest opportunities for change. For example, energy leads as the fastest growing component of global Ecological Footprint with a 180 percent increase since 1971. Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International, underscores that, "high amounts of materials and energy are not necessary to support a comfortable standard of living. We call on business leaders, governments, and civil society to promote the existing technologies and tools, and to develop innovative models, that will meet the challenges of living within the capacity of one planet."
 
The report's main objective: to begin reversing the trends. Highlights include an examination of four possible paths to the future and options for reducing human dependence on the planet's resources. The Living Planet Report 2004 exemplifies the relevance of the Ecological Footprint tool for decision-makers and defines humanity's challenge for the 21st century: learning to live within the means of one planet.
 
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