Footprint Network News: Highlights of California’s First Ecological Footprint Report

Jay Owen Beyond GDP

Footprint Network News

Issue 32, July 2013  

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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. 

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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

Footprinting in California, Ecuador, and Kuwait



Highlights of California’s First Ecological Footprint Report

Did you know that Californians consume more than five times their state’s available ecological resources? Since the population’s resource demands have brought California into ecological deficit, we might have to re-consider California as the Land of Plenty.

In March 2013, Global Footprint Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Pacific Southwest Region published the Ecological Footprint for California (an interactive presentation is also online). It was not only the first major Ecological Footprint report at the U.S. state level, but also the first published in collaboration with a U.S. government agency. As part of EPA’sFramework for Sustainability Indicators project, the report aimed to quantify California’s resource demand against its supply. Such actionable information helps decision makers recognize resource dynamics as a significant driver of economic performance.

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Ecuadorian Colleagues Undertake Footprint Technical Training

Global Footprint Network’s Oakland office hosted Ecuadorian colleagues (from left) Tamara Nacimba, Selene Défaz, Ana Karina Andrade, and Juan Carlos Baca Cabrera for a week of Ecological Footprint technical training in early May. To their right are members of Global Footprint Network’s Research & Standards team Elias Lazarus, Katsunori Iha, and Dharashree Panda.

Matrix algebra, IO table aggregation and oysters along a stretch of California seashore engaged members of Ecuador’s Planning Ministry and Environment Ministry during a recent week of technical training at Global Footprint Network’s Oakland office.

Though fifty years ago Ecuador’s ecological supply (biocapacity) vastly exceeded its population’s demand (Ecological Footprint), today’s situation is reverse. Determined to move out of ecological overshoot, in 2010 Ecuador became the first country to set a concrete Ecological Footprint target at a level within which its ecosystems can renew. Phase I involves updating Ecuador’s National Footprint Account (NFA) with national agencies’ data rather than international data. 

Ecuadorian ministry representatives’ May visit to Global Footprint Network fulfilled three objectives: 1) data verification to ensure Ecological Footprint accuracy; 2) data interpretation to identify the calculations’ significance and potential changes; and 3) application to build a robust research agenda moving forward.

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Q&A with Mediterranean-MENA Regional Director Alessandro Galli

The Mediterranean region has nearly tripled its demand for ecological resources and services over the past five decades, and increased its ecological deficit by 230 percent. Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean Initiative, launched in June 2010 with support of the MAVA Foundation, brings leaders together to develop a regional approach to managing ecological assets consumption and availability.

Last October, representatives of 12 nations attended aconference in Venice, Italy, where Global Footprint Network released its two-year investigation (Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Trends) into the link between the Mediterranean region’s ecological deficit and economic security.

Our Mediterranean-MENA Regional Director Alessandro Galli discusses how the Ecological Footprint has resonated in the region since, what’s next on the horizon for the Mediterranean Initiative, and new developments in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

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A round-up of other Footprint and sustainability news from across the globe.

  • Our Task, an independent, non-profit network of young adults, will honor Global Footprint Network with its 2013 Our Task Global Thinking Award at its July 27-28, 2013 Earth 2100 Conference. The U.N. Environment Programme and sustainability think tanks Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute will share the award.


·        Global Footprint Network Project Assistant Ingrid Heinrich (second from left) and Hassane Doumi, of Morocco’s Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment (left), with members of the Moroccoan NGO AESVT Boujemaa Belhand (second from right) and Halima Boussadik (right) at the fifth environmental education Forum Planèt’ERE, held June 6-9 in Marrakech, Morocco. Ingrid discussed the Ecological Footprint at the conference, organized by the Organization of Francophone Countries and AESVT. Earlier this year in Amman, Jordan, Ingrid presented on Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean Initiative to more than thirty Mediterranean region representatives at the seminar,Environment and Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean: The Role of the Civil Society. The European Commission sponsored the February 21-23 seminar as part of the EuroMed cooperation.

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Upcoming Events

Earth 2100 Conference
July 27-28
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Our Task, an independent, non-profit network of young adults, is hosting the second annual youth conference to bring Earth and its communities safely and sustainably to 2100 and beyond. Participants will learn what’s happening to the planet, create an alternative Youth Plan, and act to effect change in their lives and the lives of others. Our Task will honor Global Footprint Network, the U.N. Environment Programme and sustainability think tanks Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute with its 2013 Our Task Global Thinking Award.

World Forum on Natural Capital
November 21-22

The inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital will be the first major global conference devoted exclusively to turning the debate on natural capital accounting into action. It will build on the enormous private sector interest shown at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in June 2012. The Earth Summit launched the Natural Capital Declaration launched, a global finance-led initiative convened by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the Global Canopy Programme.




We’re Hiring

Global Footprint Network needs more talented and dedicated people to lead our cutting edge programs. We are looking for leaders with a passion for global sustainability in a variety of capacities from research to project management. Please review the opportunities we have available and consider joining our team.

Associate, External Affairs (Oakland)
Senior Economist (Geneva)
Research Economist (Geneva)
Manager, Client Services (Oakland)

We’re also hiring fall interns:

Carbon Footprint Intern
Finance & Administrative Intern
Forestry Research Intern
Livestock Sustainability Intern
Fisheries/Aquatic Research Intern
Agriculture Research Intern
Geographic Data Research Intern
Database Intern
Technical Intern
External Affairs Intern
Computable General Equilibrium Intern