ecology

The ecological footprint

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The ecological footprint of Aurélien BOUTAUD and Natacha GONDRAN

Edition La découverte, February 2018
Uelcome to the recent concept of the ecological footprint, a tool and indicator that is now at the centre of the debate on sustainable development.
Can the ecological sustainability of a nation be clearly and synthetically measured? Is it possible, like GDP, to summarise such a complex reality in a single figure? It was to answer these questions that the ecological footprint was invented in the early 1990s. Mobilizing hundreds of statistical and scientific data, this ingenious accounting system made it possible to demonstrate that the world economy consumes more services from the biosphere than the biosphere is capable of regenerating. It also served to reveal environmental inequalities, showing, for example, that it would take several planets to meet the needs of humanity if the Western consumption model were to become generalized.
In this book, the authors go into detail about the ins and outs of this indicator, which many environmentalists have elevated to the status of a veritable totem pole. They reveal its strengths, but also its limitations. Moreover, in this new edition, they show that the family of environmental footprints has grown significantly in recent years, allowing us to refine our understanding of global limits.
Aurélien Boutaud is a Doctor in Earth and Environmental Sciences, an independent consultant and lecturer in several universities and engineering schools.
Natacha Gondran is an engineer and master assistant (HDR) in environmental assessment at the École nationale supérieure des Mines de Saint-Étienne.

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