We’re on the Titanic and we’re going full steam ahead. So the question is, ‘Do you want radar or not?’ And Eco-footprinting is the radar. And what it has said is, look, there are icebergs out there.” William E. Rees, Vancouver Courier, Sept. 2006

Dr. Rees is perhaps best known as the originator of the Ecological Footprint concept, and as the co-developer of the Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) model. His first publication on the Ecological Footprint was in 1992, the same year as the historic Rio Earth Summit, and since then the concept has become the world’s premiere measure of the demand that Homo sapiensplaces upon the earth’s systems. Twenty years after its development, the EFA is widely used by scientists, governments, agencies, institutions, businesses, and individuals to monitor ecological resource use and advance sustainable development. Due to its metaphorical power, as well as its application as a practical tool around the world, the Ecological Footprint has had a significant impact on how the world talks about and measures sustainability. Critiques, modifications and applications of EFA now fill hundreds of pages in the academic literature each year.

Our Ecological footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth

Authors: Mathis Wackernagel, William E. Rees
New Society Publishers, 1996 – Nature – 160 pages

The Eureka Moment that Led to the “Ecological Footprint” 

In this interview for the Post Carbon Institute, Ecology & Resilience Fellow William Rees discusses the eureka moments that led him to develop the concept of the “Ecological Footprint”.