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David Lin

World Sustainability Award

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Mathis Wackernagel, co-founder and President of Global Footprint Network, received the 2018 World Sustainability Award. The Award honors individual researchers or research teams who have made an outstanding academic or societal contribution to sustainability. Mathis accepted the award at the 7th World Sustainability Forum in Beijing, China.

Read about the award here.

Earth Overshoot Day 2019 is July 29th, the earliest ever

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OAKLAND, CA, USA — JUNE 26, 2019 — On July 29, humanity will have used nature’s resource budget for the entire year, according to Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability organization that has pioneered the Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint adds up all of people’s competing demands for biologically productive areas – food, timber, fibers, carbon sequestration, and accommodation of infrastructure. Currently, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel comprise 60% of humanity’s Ecological Footprint.

Some 80 000 people have already signed current petitions to US and EU decision makers to demand that biological resource management be placed at the core of the decision-making process.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate in that year. Over the past 20 years, it has moved up three months to July 29, the earliest ever. This means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate, equivalent to 1.75 Earths. Humanity first saw ecological deficit in the early 1970s. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital, compromising the planet’s future regenerative capacity.

Ecological overspending costs are becoming increasingly evident: deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.

“Ultimately, human activity will be brought in balance with Earth’s ecological resources. The question is whether we choose to get there by disaster or by design – one-planet misery or one-planet prosperity,” said Mathis Wackernagel, co-inventor of Ecological Footprint accounting and founder of Global Footprint Network.

#MoveTheDate toward one-planet compatibility

If we move the date of Earth Overshoot Day back 5 days annually, humanity can reach one-planet compatibility before 2050. Global Footprint Network highlights opportunities for action that are available today and assesses their impact on the date of Earth Overshoot Day. For instance, replacing 50% of meat consumption with vegetarian food would move the date of Overshoot Day 15 days (10 days for the reduction of methane emissions from livestock alone); reducing the carbon component of the global Ecological Footprint by 50% would move the date 93 days.

Elements of the 2019 campaign

  • The Ecological Footprint Calculator is now available in Hindi, English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. To date, more than 15 million people have calculated their Ecological Footprint and personal Earth Overshoot Day.
  • Global Footprint Network and its partners invite the public to explore “Steps to #MoveTheDate” supporting the global movement towards one-planet compatibility, connected to energy, food, cities, population, and planet. Opportunities for action include starting a population conversation, launching workplace programs like food waste reduction, and petitioning governments to manage natural resources responsibly.

 

Additional resources

About solutions to #MoveTheDate : www.overshootday.org/solutions

Infographics in multiple languages : https://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/infographics/

About Earth Overshoot Day: www.overshootday.org

Calculate your own Footprint : www.footprintcalculator.org

Explore all countries’ Ecological Footprint and biocapacity : data.footprintnetwork.org

New book about Ecological Footprint accounting, with excerpts available for publication:https://www.newsociety.com/Books/E/Ecological-Footprint

Can China transform into an ecological civilization?

By | Guizhou Initiative | No Comments

Creating an economy that operates in harmony with nature is the centerpiece of China President Xi Jinpig’s vision of transforming the country into an ecological civilization.

Can China become such a civilization?

To find out, we engaged with the Province of Guizhou. We are launching the results of our close collaboration with the province on Wednesday, July 6, at the EcoForum Global conference with a report titled “The Guizhou Footprint Report: Metrics for an Ecological Civilization.”

Without a doubt, China is facing steep challenges: growing resource demand far beyond its own ecological resources and services; heavy dependence on fossil fuels; and growing expectations among citizens, with many people, particularly in rural areas, still needing to be lifted out of harsh economic conditions.

The Guizhou Footprint Report was created with financial support from the Swiss government. With mountainous ecosystems, rich biodiversity, and diverse people, Guizhou Province is a unique region of China that shares geographic similarities with Switzerland. So the report also includes a comparison of the two countries, China and Switzerland.

Here are some findings that highlight the challenges that Guizhou is facing:

  • In 2012, With a per capita annual income of 18,700 yuan (2,852 US dollars) and Ecological Footprint of 1.72 global hectares (gha) per capita, Guizhou has the fifth lowest per capita income among China’s provinces and the sixth lowest per capita Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint averages 3.4 global hectares per person in China and 5.8 global hectares per person in Switzerland. The latest findings in this report, indicate the Ecological Footprint has grown to 1.98 gha per capita.
  • In Guizhou, 51% of the Footprint comes from private and government sector investment in lasting assets while the remaining 49% of the Footprint comes from household consumption, which includes food, housing, mobility, and goods and services. In China, 47% of the Footprint comes from private and government sector investment while the remaining 53% comes from household consumption. By contrast, in Switzerland, 29% of the Footprint comes from private investment and 71% comes from household consumption.
  • Guizhou’s score on the U.N. Human Development Index (HDI), which measures human well-being, was calculated to be 0.62, which is below the goal of 0.7 for high development and below the average in China, at 0.73.

Our work in Guizhou builds on the China Ecological Footprint Reports published by WWF China in collaboration with Global Footprint Network. Together, Global Footprint Network and WWF China are approaching other provinces in China about incorporating the Ecological Footprint into their work. Our next meeting is with the province of Sichuan.

Global Footprint Network also has a close relationship with the China Academy of Sciences (IGSNRR). There already have been dozens (if not more) Ecological Footprint papers published in international scientific journals by Chinese academics. Global Footprint Network is seeking to accelerate the Chinese academic leadership in applying and furthering Ecological Footprint accounting.

For more information about our work in China, visit www.zujiwangluo.org or www.chinafootprint.org. Download the Guizhou Footprint Report in English here or in Chinese here. A two-page summary of the report is also available in Chinese here.

Making a Difference: From the Arctic to China

By | Carbon Footprint, Ecological Limits | No Comments

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