Ecological Footprint

Managing Our Biocapacity Budget

Ecological overshoot is shaping the 21st century. In Ecological Footprint, Mathis Wackernagel advises us to run our economies on regeneration, rather than by liquidating the planet. He explains the key tool for the job – Footprint and biocapacity accounting – and how it applies to companies, cities, and countries.

By: Mathis Wackernagel, Bert Beyers

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The only metric that tracks how much nature we have – and how much nature we use

Ecological Footprint accounting, first introduced in the 1990s and continuously developed, continues to be the only metric that compares overall human demand on nature with what our planet can renew — its biocapacity — and distils this into one number: how many Earths we use.

Our economy is running a Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme with the planet. We use future resources to run the present, using more than Earth can replenish. Like any such scheme, this works for a limited time, followed by a crash.

Avoiding ecological bankruptcy requires rigorous resource accounting — a challenging task, but doable with the right tools.

Ecological Footprint provides a complete introduction, covering:

  • Footprint and biocapacity accounting
  • Data and key findings for nations
  • Worldwide examples including businesses, cities, and countries
  • Strategies for creating regenerative economies

Whether you’re a student, business leader, future-oriented city planner, economist, or have an abiding interest in humanity’s future, Footprint and biocapacity are key parameters to be reckoned with and Ecological Footprint is your essential guide.


  • SILVER | 2020 Eric Zencey Prize
  • SILVER | 2019 Nautilus Book Awards: Ecology & Environment
  • FINALIST | 2019 Foreword INDIES: Ecology & Environment

About The Author(s)

Mathis Wackernagel, born in Basel, Switzerland, is co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and president of Global Footprint Network, which was named one of the World’s 100 Top NGOs by The Global Journal. Wackernagel has worked on sustainability with governments, corporations, and international NGOs on six continents, and has lectured at more than a hundred universities. He previously served as the director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in California and ran the Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad at Anáhuac University in Mexico. Wackernagel has authored or contributed to over one hundred peer-reviewed papers, numerous articles and reports, and various books on sustainability including the bestselling Our Ecological Footprint. With dozens of international awards and accolades for his pioneering work, he has been identified as a leader who is driving the world’s most significant problems to zero. He lives in Oakland, CA.

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Bert Beyers, born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, is a senior editor at the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg. For several decades, questions of ecology and future have been his professional passion. He has published widely including a book with Franz Josef Radermacher on survival in the 21st century entitled Welt mit Zukunft: Die ökozoziale Perspektive. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

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Book Awards

SILVER | 2020 Eric Zencey Prize
SILVER | 2019 Nautilus Book Awards: Ecology & Environment
FINALIST | 2019 Foreword INDIES: Ecology & Environment

Additional Book Resources

Book Specifications

ISBN: 9780865719118

Page Count: 288

Dimensions: 6 × 9 × 0.55 in

Publication Date: September 03, 2019

Audiobook Narrator: Adam Farnsworth

Audiobook Length: 10:15:01

Translated by: Katharina Rout

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