CSUSB hosts international symposium on global citizenship
Office of Strategic Communication
Mathis Wackernagel, president of the Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank, served as the keynote speaker at a Cal State San Bernardino symposium on Nov. 14, exploring what global citizenship means in the 21st Century.
The symposium was held in CSUSB’s newest building, the Center for Global Innovation, in conjunction with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building that was held earlier the same day.
“The topic of global citizenship and its meaning in current society is one that corresponds directly with this university’s educational mission,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales in his welcoming remarks. “As we provide quality education and strive to ensure student success, we endeavor not only to help our students learn, but also to observe, to question and to seek answers. We encourage our students to be active learners, to see beyond themselves to the needs of others and society. Ultimately, we trust they will become responsive and responsible members of the community.”
During his talk, Wackernagel explored a variety of topics including Earth Overshoot Day, which has fallen on July 29, the earliest it has ever been. This means, as of July 29, humanity has already used nature’s resource budget for the entire year. According to Wackernagel, we are using 1.75 earths.
“The regenerative capacity of the planet is truly the limiting factor that determines materially how we can live on this planet,” Wackernagel said. “The amount of fossil fuel that we have on the ground is not the limiting factor – we actually have too much compared to what the regenerative capacity of the planet can take up – it’s the competition for the big farm called planet earth.”
Following Wackernagel’s talk, the event featured a panel discussion with Breena Coates, professor, global strategy; Kevin Grisham, associate professor and chair, geography and environmental studies department; Helen Martinez, executive vice president, Associated Students Inc.; Rafik Mohamed, dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Ahlam Muhtaseb, professor, communication studies.
Tatiana Karmanova, dean of the College of Extended and Global Education, served as the panel moderator.
The panel explored various topics including how CSUSB can incorporate sustainability and other global issues into students’ experiences, the role of higher education in preparing responsible global citizens, and how CSUSB can bring these issues to the individual mindset.
Wackernagel is co-creator of the Ecological Footprint and has worked on sustainability with governments, corporations and international nonprofit organizations on six continents and has lectured at more than 100 universities. He previously served as director of the Sustainability Program at Redefining Progress in Oakland, Calif., and ran the Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad at Anáhuac University in Xalapa, Mexico.
He has written and contributed to more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, numerous articles, reports and various books on sustainability that focus on embracing resource limits and developing metrics for sustainability, including Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth; Sharing Nature’s Interest; Der Footprint: Die Welt neu vermessen; Ecological Footprint: Managing Our Biocapacity Budget; and WWF International’s Living Planet Report.
Wackernagel’s awards include the 2018 World Sustainability Award, the 2015 IAIA Global Environment Award, being a 2014 ISSP Sustainability Hall of Fame inductee, the 2013 Prix Nature Swisscanto, 2012 Blue Planet Prize, 2012 Binding Prize for Nature Conservation, the 2012 Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award of the International Society for Ecological Economics, the 2011 Zayed International Prize for the Environment (jointly awarded with UNEP), an honorary doctorate from the University of Berne in 2007, a 2007 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, 2006 WWF Award for Conservation Merit and 2005 Herman Daly Award of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics.
He was also selected as number 19 on the en(rich) list identifying the 100 top inspirational individuals whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures (www.enrichlist.org). John Elkington identified Wackernagel among the “Zeronaut 50” Roll of Honor, i.e., leading pioneers who are driving the world’s most significant problems to zero. From 2011 to 2015, Wackernagel was also the Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Visiting Professor at Cornell University.
Wackernagel completed a Ph.D. in community and regional planning with William Rees at the University of British Columbia, where his doctoral dissertation developed the Ecological Footprint concept. He also earned a mechanical engineering degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Founded in 2003, the Global Footprint Network is an international sustainability organization that is helping the world live within the Earth’s means and respond to climate change. The network is headquartered in Oakland and has engaged with more than 50 countries, 30 cities, and 70 global partners to deliver scientific insights that have driven high-impact policy and investment decisions. The goal is to create a future where everyone can thrive within the limits of the planet.
Global Footprint Network develops and promotes tools for advancing sustainability, including the ecological footprint and biocapacity, which measure the amount of resources humans use and how much we have. These tools aim at bringing ecological limits to the center of decision-making.