ecostory 62-2007
"Our Carbon Footprint"
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The below >article< from the Global Footprint Network asks us to subscribe to their "Ecological Footprint" theory and to contribute.

We, however, are convinced that Wackernagel's theory is scientifically wrong, for reasons that we will explain hereafter.

The result of this sort of theories is, we believe, a scaling-down of the seriousness of the environmental developments. It leads to false hopes and the avoidance of real measures that are urgently needed to reduce our human impact.

Wackernagel says that his ecological footprint is ONLY covering BIOLOGICALLY RENEWABLE resources. Nevertherless he writes:
footprintnetwork... Our "Resource Demand", however, is much, much more than biologically renewable resources.

And exactly this is mostly forgotten, thereby leading to a wrong feeling of relative safety.

One must consider ALL resources consumed, such as minerals, groundwater, soil, space, climate (greenhouse gases and climate change), pollution, etc.

We deplete nonrenewable sweet water from aquifers, cut down forests that will never grow again, use up minerals that are already scarce.

The inclusion of the hypothetical amount of so-called "energy land" is a hoax since the fossil energy that we are using was accumulated over a much longer time, some 200 million years, than the short period in which we are burning up these resources (some 300 years) AND thereby producing irreversible climate change.

Wackernagel's ecological footprint is detrimental to the need to become sustainable because it generates the wrong notions with the public. It is nonsense, for example, to claim that humanity (worldwide) would have lived ecologically sustainable till 1987 approximately.

Recently, the "exact" date is said to be "December 19, 1987". footprintnetwork...
(websurfed 02JUL2007) On the same page the surfer is asked to "Contribute to Ending Overshoot!" - how else than by paying money. (sic!)

Factually humanity has overshot the earth's carrying capacity manifold and since a long time.
We should return to the resource use and per capita impact of before 1750 to become approximately sustainable again.
For further comments see page Sustainability
and Scenarios

Just one last comment here. When surfing for the footprint one stumbles over carbon-offset schemes. That of course is the biggest cheat one can imagine. Yet many people fall for it. It is like redemption certificates that the church sold in the dark dark middle ages. Making money with the bad conscience of people.

  • Footprints and sustainability
  • Leben auf zu grossem Fuss
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    Copyright notice We transcribed this article for reference purposes only.

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    In nearly every newspaper, from California to Australia, you can find a reference to the "Carbon Footprint." It has become an enormously popular term as we rush to stem global warming, and to find alternative energy sources that won't harm the climate. This is great news.

    The Carbon Footprint is 50% of humanity's overall Ecological Footprint, and global warming is one of the most visible symptoms we've seen to-date of the larger problem humanity is facing: ever-increasing, global ecological overshoot.

    Ecological overshoot means that humanity is living beyond the planet's ability to sustain us. Today the focus is on carbon, but climate change is happening as we approach other critical limits as well, in fisheries, forests, cropland, and water. Unless we focus on ending overshoot as a whole-systems problem, some of our solutions to climate change could cause large, unintended impacts.

    For example, in Brazil, sugarcane plantations used for ethanol production are being linked to air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation.

    And in Borneo and Sumatra, large areas of tropical forest are being cleared to make room for palm oil plantations, which is destroying the habitat of endangered species, in particular, the orangutan.

    The Ecological Footprint was created to ensure that addressing a singular issue, like global warming, doesn't negatively impact entire ecosystems or shift pressures from one land type onto another.

    At Global Footprint Network, we are building worldwide commitment to ending ecological overshoot and we are committed to finding ways to move out of carbon that reduce humanity's Ecological Footprint, overall. It will require new levels of engagement, increased partnerships, and additional staff to meet the rising interest in, and opportunities for our work.

    It also means asking people like you-who know our work and believe in our mission-to support our efforts. With your support, we can play big. We can engage with leading scientists to identify the best solutions for addressing climate change and provide guidance to decision makers and concerned citizens. We can replicate the research collaborations we have established with the governments of Switzerland, Japan, Belgium, and others so that entire countries are assessing their Carbon Footprint as part of the bigger whole. We can engage more national governments and international agencies in our Ten-in-Ten campaign-an effort to institutionalize the Ecological Footprint in at least ten nations by 2015. Never before has the Ecological Footprint been more relevant or had a chance like this to make an impact.

    Please join us by contributing your financial support. Your contribution will help us make the most of this rare moment, when so much of the world seems to be listening and so many people are poised to take steps toward ending overshoot.

    Simply click here to make a secure donation on-line or print a contribution form to send a gift by mail. If you would like to make a wire transfer, or make a donation of stock, please contact us at and we will happily help with the arrangements.

    Help us make sure that all these good efforts don't end up just being a displacement, but rather that they lead us-powerfully-along our way.


    Mathis Wackernagel
    Executive Director
    Global Footprint Network

    Source: email from Global Footprint Network sent: 27.06.2007 19:11