Living within a Fair Share Ecological Footprint

Edited by Robert Vale, Brenda Vale

© 2013 – Routledge

344 pages | 110 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415507233
pub: 2013-03-25
US Dollars$53.95
Hardback: 9780415507226
pub: 2013-03-25
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

According to many authorities the impact of humanity on the earth is already overshooting the earth’s capacity to supply humanity’s needs. This is an unsustainable position. This book does not focus on the problem but on the solution, by showing what it is like to live within a fair earth share ecological footprint.

The authors describe numerical methods used to calculate this, concentrating on low or no cost behaviour change, rather than on potentially expensive technological innovation. They show what people need to do now in regions where their current lifestyle means they are living beyond their ecological means, such as in Europe, North America and Australasia. The calculations focus on outcomes rather than on detailed discussion of the methods used. The main objective is to show that living with a reduced ecological footprint is both possible and not so very different from the way most people currently live in the west.

The book clearly demonstrates that change in behaviour now will avoid some very challenging problems in the future. The emphasis is on workable, practical and sustainable solutions based on quantified research, rather than on generalities about overall problems facing humanity.


"Informed, informative, scholarly, insightful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking… [A] vitally necessary addition to professional, academic, corporate, and governmental library Environmental Studies reference collections." - The Midwest Book Review, June 2013

"‘Sustainability’ is a term that is bandied about all the time, casually applied to anything that is slightly better than the usual, however marginal the improvement might be. This is a book that corrects that mis-use, setting out exactly what a sustainable lifestyle actually entails." – Jeremy Williams, Make Wealth History

"The key contribution of this collection is the provision of extensive, detailed comparative assessments of the relative ecological footprint associated with different dimensions of our resource consumption, providing at times surprising insights into the comparative impact of, for example, automobile versus air travel, or the ecological footprint reduction that could be achieved with a lowering of meat consumption."Canadian Studies in Population, Debra J. Davidson, University of Alberta

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction

1. Footprints and Fair Earth Share. Bill Rees and Jennie Moore

Part 2: What does Living within a Fair Earth Share Mean?

2.1: Personal Footprint

2. Food. James Richardson

3. Domestic Travel. Robert and Brenda Vale

4. Consumer Goods. Maggie Lawton

5. The Dwelling. Nalanie Mithraratne

6. Tourism. Abbas Mahravan

2.2: Collective Footprint

7. Infrastructure. Ning Huang

8. Government. Jeremy Gabe and Rebecca Gentry

9. Services. Soo Ryu

Part 3: Footprints in the Past

10. A Study of Wellington in the 1950s. Carmeny Field (with Brenda Vale)

Part 4: Footprints in the Present

11. A Study of China. Yuefeng Guo

12. A Study of Suburban Thailand. Sirimas Hengrasmee

13. Kampung Naga, Indonesia. Grace Pamungkas (with Brenda Vale and Fabricio Chicca)

14. A Study of Hanoi, Vietnam. Han Thuc Tran

15. A Study of Suburban New Zealand. Sumita Ghosh

16. The Hockerton Housing Project, England. Brenda and Robert Vale

17. Education for Lower Footprints. Sant Chansomsak

18. Footprints and Income. Ella Lawton

19. Sustainable Urban Form. Fabricio Chicca

Part 5: Conclusions

20. "I wouldn't start from here…" Robert and Brenda Vale

About the Editors

Robert and Brenda Vale are Professorial Research Fellows in the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. They share common research interests in ecological footprinting and sustainable building design, and are both currently working on the new Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) project to deliver ecological footprinting and systems approaches to sustainable development of communities.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography