Day 46 we went to visit the Global Footprint Network at the invitation of Benji Kessler ’13, a friend of the bus who is interning there for the summer. The Global Footprint Network “measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services” per capita within nations and other geographical areas. Global Footprint Network focuses on implementing changes with governments on the national level. However, they also offer a personal footprint calculator that will tell individuals an estimate of how many earths would be required to support the world population living the way they do and using the resources they use.
As an educational tool, Global Footprint Network announces the Earth Overshoot Day, the point during the year in which the sustainable level of resource extraction for the world for one year has been reached. For 2011 the date was September 27 and it is predicted to be earlier for 2012.
It was exciting to see the work that is being done on the opposite end of the size spectrum—national and international level policy change relative to individual education and community involvement. Both are important—change is unlikely to be implemented top-down without support from the general population. However, top-down is ultimately how change must occur, and the only way for it to happen fast enough. It would take a lot of busses to reach all the voters in the US alone who are unaware of the importance and urgency of shifting toward sustainability. Global Footprint Network is creating change on a massive scale very quickly by working with nations such as the UK and UAE, both of which have already implemented policy changes based on footprint research.
Thanks Global Footprint Network and Benji!