Biography

William Rees has taught at the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) since 1969-70. He founded SCARP’s ‘Environment and Resource Planning’ concentration and from 1994 to 1999 served as director of the School. Much of his work is in the realm of human ecology and ecological economics where Prof Rees is best known as the originator of ‘ecological footprint analysis.’ He is presently supervising several eco-footprint projects ranging from the sustainability implications of globalization to getting serious about urban sustainability.

Prof Rees is also a founding member and recent past-President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a co-investigator in the ‘Global Integrity Project,’ aimed at defining the ecological and political requirements for biodiversity preservation; a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute and a Founding Fellow of the One Earth Initiative. Drawing parts of his answer from various disciplines, Prof Rees’ current book project asks: “Is Humanity Inherently Unsustainable?” In 2006 Prof Rees was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and in 2007 he was awarded a prestigious 3-year Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship.

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Industrialised world reductions in material throughput, energy use, and environmental degradation of over 90% will be required by 2040 to meet the needs of a growing world population fairly within the planet’s ecological means. Business Council for Sustainable Development1 It’s not as if we’re unaware of the problem. Symptoms were already so …

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In 1992, the year of the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Concerned Scientists warned that a “great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this […]

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