The influence of Dr. Rees’ work is widely recognized and awarded. He has been invited to lecture in 25 countries around the world; the Vancouver Sun named Professor Rees one of British Columbia’s top public intellectuals in 2000; in 2006 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and in 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship.
“The Ecological Footprint has emerged as the world’s premier measure of humanity’s demand on nature. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resource it consumes and to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions, using prevailing technology. The Ecological Footprint is now in wide use by scientists, businesses, governments, agencies, individuals, and institutions working to monitor ecological resource use and advance sustainable development.”Global Footprint Network
“The Ecological Footprint is one of the most important environmental concepts in currency today, with virtually unlimited educational and practical implications.” E.O. Wilson, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“The Footprinting methodology is the most ingenious way of communicating unsustainability to the general public – it goes directly to the point and through intuition it allows laypeople to ‘get it’.” Prof. Karl-Henrik Robert, Founder of The Natural Step
“The Ecological Footprint is a great communication tool. It can help explain a complex challenge for the planet to any audience. It can then empower people because it doesn’t say you must do this. It says: here’s the challenge that we all share on the planet. You can make your choice. That’s very powerful for us.” Terry A’Hearn, Director of Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection Agency Victoria, Australia
“It would be great to see Bill [Rees] get global kudos for his work, because it’s really world-changing…Thousands of cities are talking about it. I mean, we had over 1,600 cities looking at our greenest-city work and are influenced by it.” Mayor Gregor Robertson, City of Vancouver
“There are not too many academics whose work has had the size of impact that Bill’s work has, globally. The footprint concept has entered the language…It just resonates with people.” Prof. John Robinson, University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
“[William] Rees deserves the Nobel Prize in Economics for developing the ecological footprint, which has become a global tool for measuring the use of resources.” Charlie Smith, Editor, Georgia Straight (Metro Vancouver newspaper); William Rees was also named “Best candidate for a Nobel Prize in Economics” in the 16th annual Best of Vancouver issue for 2011.
“He’s funny-he doesn’t get depressed…When Bill got into the environment, it was a brand-new field. I don’t know how many papers he has sent off that the government just ignored – where they said, ‘Where’s the shredder?’- but he kept going.” Judith Pritchard, Bill’s sister and a former bookstore owner who’s semiretired on Gabriola Island.
“I know of no better way of thinking about sustainability or carrying capability on a global scale than Ecological Footprinting.”Peter Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden
“Even if we just wanted to save tigers and pandas, or create protected areas, we could still not succeed without addressing human pressure. Reducing humanity’s impact, however, requires equity and cooperation, otherwise we would just create more conflicts. This is an important reason for monitoring human demand through the Ecological Footprint. Recognizing ecological constraints is tough, but it is a prerequisite for harmony between people and nature.”Claude Martin, former Director General WWF International.
“There is one measure, and one measure only, describing the capacity and relationship between human society and living systems: Ecological Footprinting. It is the only standard by which we may calibrate our collective impact upon the planet, and assess the viability of our future. It is ‘true north’ when it comes to sustainability; no report about the environment is complete without it.”Paul Hawken, Executive Director, Natural Capital Institute.
Ecological Footprint Analysis has been adopted by the Worldwide Fund for Nature [WWF] as a co-indicator of sustainability along with the WWF’s own Living Planet Index.
In 2011, Bill Rees was the only ecological economist invited to present to George Soros’ Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) Annual Conference at Bretton Woods, which was a highest-level meeting of financiers and finance economists. His paper was “Toward a Sustainable Global Economy”. The conference was ‘Crisis and Renewal: International Political Economy at the Crossroads’, Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH, USA, 8-10 April 2011.
Ecological footprint’ is now an entry in the Oxford dictionary of the English language—indeed, the phrase has become part of the contemporary vernacular.
Time Magazine (Canadian edition) recognized William Rees and the power of the ecological footprint concept in a feature story, “Taking Measure,” in the ‘Science’ section of the 10 October 2005 edition.