Monthly Archives

November 2015

New Footprint China website launches with the release of WWF’s Living Planet Report – China 2015 report

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Beijing, China –Global Footprint Network launched the beta version of a new website, www.zujiwangluo.org , on Nov. 12 to build on and support the growing interest in the Ecological Footprint among partners and practitioners in government and academia throughout China.

The website, a core element of our Footprint initiatives in China, was launched to support WWF China’s Living Planet Report-China 2015. The report, to which Global Footprint Network contributed, shows that in less than two generations time, China’s per-person demand on nature has more than doubled. This increase in demand went hand in hand with a substantial loss in the abundance of wild species: The average population size of China’s terrestrial vertebrates declined by half from 1970 to 2010.

Global Footprint Network’s new China website aims to serve as a collaboration platform for practitioners in government and academia in China who share the common goal of making Ecological Footprint accounting and related tools as rigorous as possible to fulfill China’s vision of an ecological civilization. The website’s name means “footprint network” in Mandarin.

The Ecological Footprint measures a population’s demand for the goods and services its land and seas can provide—fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing and carbon dioxide absorption. The Ecological Footprint can then be compared to biocapacity, which represents the capacity of ecosystems to meet that demand.

“With its goal of creating an ecological civilization, in which humans live in harmony with nature, China has the opportunity to lead the world in global sustainability and ensure a resilient future for our entire planet,” said Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint framework and president and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. “The Ecological Footprint can play an important role in guiding leaders in China to make strategic investments and set policies to turn their vision into a reality.”

The website builds on several Footprint initiatives in China. Global Footprint Network recently began collaborating with Guizhou Province, the nation’s most biodiverse yet poorest province. The Guizhou Footprint Initiative is co-sponsored by the Swiss government and comes in the wake of a Chinese- Swiss trade agreement.

“The Ecological Footprint will empower decision-makers in Guizhou to make informed decisions to develop our province into a model ecological civilization for the rest of China,” said Mingjie Zheng, deputy director of the Guizhou Institute of Environmental Sciences Research and Design. “We look forward to collaborating with Global Footprint Network to find sustainable development paths that preserve our province’s unique natural beauty while also improving the well-being of our citizens.”

In addition to Global Footprint Network’s work in Guizhou, practitioners in China already have measured the Ecological Footprint of Beijing and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.

WWF’s Living Planet Report – China 2015, the fourth edition of the report, continues using the Ecological Footprint as a major indicator to compare the demand the country places on the natural environment against what Chinese ecosystems can renew—the nation’s biocapacity.

The report shows that China’s Ecological Footprint has grown to 2.2 times the nation’s biocapacity.

“WWF believes that better solutions do exist, and that together we can reverse the trend if we make better choices that ensure China’s development, without destroying nature,” said WWF International’s Director General, Marco Lambertini. “As the world’s largest emerging economy, China plays a vital role in global sustainability and environmental conservation. We are all connected, and collectively, we have the potential to find and adopt the solutions that will safeguard the future of our one and only planet.”

Additional findings in the WWF Living Planet – China 2015 report include:

  • China accounts for the largest share of the global Ecological Footprint, at 1/6 of the total.
  • Though China’s per capita footprint is lower than the global average, the nation is already consuming 2.2 times its biocapacity, causing more and more significant impact on the environment, including forest degradation, drought, soil erosion, water shortage, increase of carbon dioxide and biodiversity loss.
  • The Carbon Footprint remains the largest and fastest growing component of China’s Ecological Footprint, accounting for 51% of China’s Ecological Footprint in 2010.
  • Of 31 provincial-level administrative units studied, nine provinces contribute to half of the nation’s biocapacity, while five account for 35% of the nation’s total Ecological Footprint. Four more provinces are running an ecological deficit compared with two years earlier, with only two provinces, Qinghai and Tibet, holding an ecological reserve. A nation or province runs an ecological deficit when its Ecological Footprint exceeds its biocapacity, and holds a reserve when its biocapacity exceeds its Ecological Footprint.
  • Amphibians and reptiles showed the sharpest decline among vertebrate species, at 97%, while mammals suffered a decline of 50%. The population of resident birds, meanwhile, increased by 43%, thanks the growing number of protected areas and laws after 2000.

With the theme “development, species and ecological civilization,” the report was produced with the technical support of Global Footprint Network, the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) and Institute of Zoology (IOZ) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in collaboration with the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).

Read WWF China’s press release on the report in English or Chinese.

Read WWF’s Living Planet Report-China 2015 report in English or Chinese.

Making a Difference: From the Arctic to China

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I had two passions as a kid: nature and technology. After starting as an electrical engineering and computer science undergraduate at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), I realized my path lay elsewhere.

Long before I joined Global Footprint Network as Lead Researcher, my passion for nature led me to Alaska and Russia where, as a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas, I used cutting edge technologies to survey three dozen ecosystems to evaluate how global warming is changing landscapes in the Arctic.

Growing up in Orange County, California, it quickly became apparent to me that an emphasis on material wealth was keeping many of us disconnected from fundamental aspects of our life on Earth, starting with the natural ecosystems we depend on.

I ached to have a direct impact on those issues I had come to care deeply about, in no small part through living and working with the communities I encountered near the Arctic Circle and in the desert along the Mexican border. Following my doctorate and post-doc research, I joined Global Footprint Network.

I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to play a part in raising awareness about natural resource constraints in the public and among decision-makers. So much work has been done, yet there are still so many promising paths we can explore to make the Ecological Footprint increasingly relevant to communities around the world.

I am especially excited by the great opportunity that has been steadily growing in China. The concept of the Ecological Footprint resonates well with Chinese vision for creating a modern Ecological Civilization. Guizhou, a small, mountainous, biodiversity-rich province, where urban development, transportation and agriculture are challenging, is aiming to become an Eco-Civilization poster child with the help of the Swiss government.

We’re collaborating closely with the province’s Environmental Protection Department to help leaders along that path. Our next goal is to provide standards that all of China’s provinces can use and share in order to compare results.

You can support sustainability work in China and around the world by donating here. Your contribution could help Guizhou, China’s poorest province, set a precedent and show the rest of the world that it is possible to live well within the means of nature. Your support also could make a difference for impoverished communities everywhere who are beginning to envision their own sustainable future, with our help.

Thank you so much for your continued commitment to Global Footprint Network’s work around the world.

– See more at: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/blog/from_the_arctic_to_china_making_a_difference#sthash.aukx82Yt.dpuf