Just How Big is the Human Footprint on Earth?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

It’s a question that many have asked, but few have attempted to answer.  The Global Footprint Network has created research methodology and technology to help answer this question and bring solutions to the Earth’s communities. In 2003, Global Footprint Network was established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet. Global Footprint Network’s efforts are fueled by a future vision in which human demand on nature is monitored as closely as the stock market. They make this vision a reality by providing the scientific data necessary to drive large-scale social change. Together with hundreds of individuals, 200 cities, 23 nations, leading business, scientists, NGO’s, academics and their 90-plus global partners — spanning six continents — the Global Footprint Network is advancing the impact of the Footprint in the world, applying it to practical projects and sparking a global dialogue about a one-planet future and how we can facilitate change.

An essential step in creating a one-planet future is measuring human impact on the Earth so we can make more informed choices. That is why the Global Footprint Network aims to accelerate the use of the Ecological Footprint — a tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what. The Ecological Footprint is a data-driven metric that measures how close we are to the goal of sustainable living. Footprint accounts work like bank statements, documenting whether we are living within our ecological budget or consuming nature’s resources faster than the planet can renew them.

At Global Footprint Network, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research organization, programs are designed to influence decision makers at all levels of society and to create a critical mass of powerful institutions using the Footprint to put an end to ecological overshoot and get our economies back into balance. Global Footprint Network’s intent is that these initiatives will bring about new solutions and get people talking about the reality of ecological limits.  They expect the results will redirect billions of dollars of investment toward making sustainable human development a reality.

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