By Armando AlvesPortugal’s Cities Footprint project, now in its second year, launched the first city Footprint Calculator in Guimarães today. Residents can use it to assess their household’s use of natural resources and compare it with the city average. It is the first calculator available in Portuguese. It is calibrated with the specific data collected from the municipality of Guimarães during the first year of the project. [caption id="attachment_17913" align="alignleft" width="450"] Dr. Seara de Sá, local councilor for urbanism, applauded the development of Guimarães Footprint Calculator.[/caption] As he opened the Calculator launch event today, Dr. Seara de Sá, local councilor for urbanism (picture at left), applauded the development of Guimarães Municipal Footprint Calculator, a new and stronger communication tool that can support the municipality’s efforts to reduce its Ecological Footprint through helping citizens think globally while acting locally. “Guimarães shows that it is moving in the right direction and this is another important step,” he said. “Instead of doing things in a generic and abstract way, we provide people with a practical tool to assess their Ecological Footprint”. Project coordinator Paulo Magalhães of the Portuguese NGO ZERO, the local partner of Global Footprint Network, explained that the Calculator is a simple and intuitive tool that will help citizens understand the impact of their lifestyles on natural resources. Dr. Sara Moreno Pires from the University of Aveiro, lead researcher for Portugal’s Cities Footprint project, presented the Calculator to a room full of engaged citizens. Global Footprint Network’s Footprint Calculator, which has been available since 2007 and is now provided in six languages, has had a major impact raising global awareness of the implications of consumption choices, she pointed out. With more than 2 million users every year, it has become a widely recognized environmental education tool. In this context, Guimarães Footprint Calculator, in Portuguese and with local data, brings an innovative tool with a high potential to engage local residents and politicians in understanding the actions needed to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day and live in balance with the biological resources that are available. The Ecological Footprint of Guimarães is 3.66 gha per person. Guimarães Overshoot Day is June 13th (date when Earth Overshoot Day would land this year if humanity lived like Guimarães’ resiudents.) [caption id="attachment_17903" align="alignright" width="450"] The Footprint workshop brought together 26 highly active participants from local NGOs, schools, and public entities.[/caption] "Citizens for the reduction of the Ecological Footprint: Ambassadors of Guimarães", a 3-hour Footprint workshop ran by Armando Alves from the research team of the University of Aveiro, followed the public presentation. Twenty-six participants from local NGOs, schools, public agencies, other municipalities, and youth representatives, took part in several activities designed to help them understand the role of citizens in reducing the city’s Ecological Footprint and teach them strategies to disseminate Guimarães Municipal Footprint Calculator. It followed the following sequences:
- understand the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity concepts and Portugal’s Cities Footprint project
- use the Footprint Calculator as an educational and environmental awareness tool and understand its contribution to enhance awareness of the environmental consequences of consumption behaviors
- identify different contexts and target audiences for the use of the Calculator
- discuss policies and local actions critical to reducing the city’s Ecological Footprint
- implement the network of Guimarães ambassadors to #MoveTheDate.