Our Ecological Footprint – Reducing Human Impact on the Earth from M Wackernagel & W Rees

Title: Our Ecological Footprint – Reducing Human Impact on the Earth
Author: M Wackernagel & W Rees
ISBN No.: 1-55092-251-3
Year of Publication: 1996
Website: http://www.newsociety.com/bookid/3663

This may have been published some time ago but it is still a classic text for calculating environmental impact and the concept of the ecological footprint is now more important than ever. The book is still in print and with many companies moving to develop sustainability policies from their environmental policies, this book becomes an important resource when looking at environmental and sustainability indicators.

The book has so many different excellent components to it and can be used by everyone from the most un-initiated up to the senior environmental and sustainability professionals. It starts by explaining the basics of sustainability and why it is important. It then goes on to discuss how the concept of ecological footprinting can be used as a planning and evaluation tool and how the resulting analyses can guide current and future practice. The calculation explanations are presented in a “fun;’ format to minimise the psychological block of, “What? MORE stats and maths!”

The book is filled with clear, simple line drawings which not only provide light relief but also explain many of the area and space concepts that relate back to human influences and impacts upon the biosphere. Sprinkled throughout the text are a number of standalone text boxes which tackle calculations or give case study examples. Uniquely, the book tackles some of the original scientific scepticism and criticism of the ecological footprint using a cartoon character called “Dr Footnote” who is designated as a sustainability counsellor. The book ends with an important point – “…Ecological Footprint analysis is not about how bad things are. It is just about how they are – and what we can do about it…”

If your organisation is looking at environmental indicators and needs to get options which are practical and easily explained, this is the book for you. Thoroughly recommended.

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