WWF-Brasil honoured with environmental award from Campo Grande council
From Campo Grande (Mato Grosso do Sul)
The Ecology and Environmentalism Award has been granted to WWF-Brazil in recognition of its work in calculating the Ecological Footprint of the city of Campo Grande and the mobilisation actions undertaken with local partners with a view to reducing consumption’s impacts on the environment to help to reduce the Footprint. WWF-Brazil CEO Maria Cecília Wey de Brito received the award from the chairman of the Council’s Standing Committee for the Environment, councillor Marcelo Bluma (Partido Verde) at a ceremonial session held in the Municipal Council Chamber.
42 other representatives of public institutions and civil society organisations that carry out work designed to foster environmental conservation were also honoured with the award and WWF-Brazil CEO Maria Cecília Wey de Brito was invited to speak on behalf of all of them. In her address she stressed that today the world is living through a severe environmental crisis insofar as the consumption of natural resources is far greater than the planet is capable of supporting and the Ecological Footprint shows that very clearly. “We are already consuming 1.5 planets” she said, referring to the global average Ecological Footprint. “It is as if we were spending the overdraft of future generations”, she warned.
The Global Footprint Network (GFN), responsible for ecological footprint calculations around the world, has conducted studies clearly revealing how humanity has already gone far beyond the planet’s capacity. Currently the average global ecological footprint stands at 2.7 global hectares per person while the biocapacity available for each human being is a mere 1 .8 global hectares and that puts humanity into serious ecological debt of 0.9 global hectares per person which on a global scale corresponds to 1.5 planets.
In the case of the city of Campo Grande, the data revealed an Ecological Footprint of 3.14 global hectares per inhabitant, and if that is translated to global term it corresponds to 1.7 planets. That means that if everyone in the world were to consume in the way Campo Grande residents do, then almost two planets would be needed to maintain their lifestyles.
Maria Cecília made it clear that the Campo Grande Footprint study has produced information that will be very valuable in assisting the authorities and the general public to improve their consumption habits and contribute to diminishing their impacts. “We hope the municipality will use this Footprint tool to measure the city’s impacts and adopt mitigation measures to reduce the Ecological Footprint”, she declared.
The chairman of the Standing Committee for the Environment, Marcelo Bluma, reminded the audience that the awards ceremony was taking place on the eve of a major global event to discuss environmental issues hosted by Brazil, the Rio+20 conference. In his, view honouring with awards those that are taking positive action in the quest for a better planet is a valuable contribution to the greater whole of positive actions. “We take action locally but we affect the planet globally and whatever we do on the positive side also contributes globally”, he stated.
Bluma congratulated WWF-Brasil, the city authorities and the local partners in the footprint work and underscored how important the study really was. “The Ecological Footprint is a fantastic tool that enables us to measure the population’s consumption habits. We need to adopt it as a municipal policy; it is a tool that can really help cities in their efforts to achieve sustainability”, he stressed.
The Ecological Footprint
A country, city or individual’s ecological footprint corresponds to the size of the productive areas of land and sea that is necessary to produce and sustain a given way of life. It is a way of translating into hectares the expanse of territory that a person or an entire society ‘uses’ on average, to sustain its eating, housing, mobility, and other needs. The methodology has been tested in several countries around the world and is now beginning to be applied to cities. Campo Grande was the first Brazilian city to have its Footprint calculation made.
The work was conducted by WWF-Brazil in a partnership arrangement with the Municipal Authority of the Campo Grande, the capital city of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, the Global Footprint Network, the social company Ecossistemas and the Anhanguera University, a private institution. “The aim was to obtain a management tool that could help government planning and management, mobilise the general public to review its consumption habits and favour more sustainable products and stimulate companies and businesses to improve their production processes”, explained WWF-Brazil’s Cerrado Pantanal Programme coordinator, Michael Becker.
Example – The example set by Mato Grosso do Sul’s capital city is already inspiring other Brazilian cities to do the same. In April this year WWF-Brazil established a partnership arrangement with the Municipal Government of the City of São and with the Government of the State of São Paulo to carry out the calculation of both their Ecological Footprints. The study is almost complete and is expected to be launched during the Rio+20 conference.
Launch – The publication presenting the results of the study undertaken to calculate the Ecological Footprint of the city of Campo Grande was launched yesterday (June 5) during the opening of the 4th Sustainable Solutions Exhibition. The Campo Grande Municipal Authority organised the event scheduled to run from June 5 to 7 in Campo Grande as part of the Environment Week commemorations. WWF-Brazil and its Footprint partners have a stand at the exhibition to publicise the work that was done.
The Mayor of Campo Grande, Nelson Tras Filho, attended the event along with the head of the Environment and Urban Development Department Marcos Cristaldo, WWF-Brazil CEO Maria Cecília Wey de Brito and WWF-Brazil’s Cerrado Pantanal Programme Coordinator, Michael Becker.
In addition to the Ecological Footprint information, the publication also shows the mobilisation work that was carried out alongside the local partners to find solutions and the means of reducing impacts and diminishing the size of Campo Grande’s Ecological Footprint.
About the Ecological Footprint
The Ecological Footprint is an environmental accounting methodology that evaluates the pressure that human populations’ consumption puts on natural resources. It is expressed in global hectares (gha) and that makes it possible to compare different consumption patterns and check whether they lie within the ecological capacity of the planet.
One global hectare is defined as one hectare with the global average productivity of productive lands and seas in a given year. In turn, biocapacity is the ecosystems’ capacity to produce the renewable natural resources needed for human consumption and to absorb the residues and waste generated by the population’s activities.
Thus the Ecological Footprint is a kind of accounts sheet for renewable natural biological resources (grains, vegetables, meat, fish wood, fibre, renewable energy, etc.) and it groups them under the headings of Agriculture, Grazing Land, Forests, Fisheries, Built up areas, Energy and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).