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Issue 20, August 8, 2009  

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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

Ecological Intelligence for the 21st Century

Data on resource limits will be the critical intelligence business and government leaders will need to remain competitive in the 21st century, Mathis and Susan say in a video interview at the Skoll Foundation’s Skoll World Forum. The two discuss why they launched Global Footprint Network, and why the work is more relevant now than ever. “It’s not about future generations anymore. It’s about my life, our son’s life,” Mathis says.

“What do all these resource trends of using more than one planet mean for a country’s competitiveness or for a company’s success? Now we are in a new century. In the past we could ignore resource constraints. If we do that in the future, we will be toast.”

“Trendalyzer” Shows How Statistics Interact

What correlations are their between adult literacy and Ecological Footprint? Between population and energy use? The Trendalyzer tool, now available at the Global Footprint Network Web site, allows users to explore how various statistics relating to environmental impact (such as carbon emissions, energy use and Ecological Footprint), and quality of life (such as infant mortality, literacy, income and life expectancy) interact and inter-relate. Users are able to chose from dozens of publically-available data sets and chart how those factors relate to one another over time and geographic realms.


Join the Twitter Campaign to End Overshoot!

With Earth Overshoot Day rapidly approaching, Global Footprint Network has launched a Twitter campaign to raise public awareness of ecological overshoot and encourage people to take action to end it. The campaign sends mini text and email messages, or “tweets,” with daily news, facts, suggestions and thought-provoking ideas. The campaign is designed to reach out to the nearly 14 million Twitter users, largely representing the under-35 demographic – the heirs to our current environmental policies and mounting ecological debt.

Click here to follow Global Footprint Network on Twitter.

Moving Beyond GDP

How can we move beyond measuring economic expansion to broader indicators of progress that assess whether countries are providing for human well-being in a meaningful and lasting way? This question is the focus of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress created by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and chaired by Nobel Prize winning-economists Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University and Professor Amartya Sen of Harvard.

Gearing Up For Copenhagen, Seminars Look at Footprint, Biocapacity

At recent workshops in Lima and Bogota, Global Footprint Network explored the implications of ecological limits and biocapacity for the global climate negotiations at Copenhagen and beyond. The workshops were part of multi-day seminars on climate change organized by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and sponsored by the British Foreign Commonwealth Office.

Novel Envisions Our Ecological Future

Environmentalist Peter Seidel, who has authored two non-fiction books dealing with human demand on nature, takes a different approach for exploring the consequences of ecological consumption with a new novel out in paperback, 2045: A Vision of Our Future. 

Happy Planet Index Shows Good Life Needn’t Cost the Earth

Costa Rica tops the list of countries able to provide long and happy lives for its citizens on a low Ecological Footprint, according to the Happy Planet Index, released this month by nef (the new economics foundation), a Global Footprint Network partner. Created as an alternative yardstick to economic-growth based measures of social progress, the Happy Planet Index (HPI) is designed to measure the ecological efficiency with which countries provide a high quality of life for their citizens.

The Natural Step Joins Global Footprint Network

The Natural Step, an international non-profit dedicated to education, advisory work and research in sustainable development, has joined Global Footprint Network as a Partner. The Natural Step Framework provides a comprehensive, science-based definition of sustainability and links it to real world applications.

Ecological Economics Examines the Ecological Footprint

A recent issue of Ecological Economics (Vol. 68, Issue 7), the journal of the International Society of Ecological Economics, features a special section on Ecological Footprint analysis. Edited by Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel, the issue focuses on advancements in Footprint methodology and includes articles by Global Footprint Network research staff and partners. Aticles include a proposed method for incorporating methane into Ecological Footprint analysis, a comparison of Ecological Footprint and water footprint analysis, and a research agenda for improving the National Footprint Accounts.
Click here to see a preview of the issue.