Municipal Footprint-driven Development Strategies

Case Study

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What is the solution?

Applying a one-planet-consistent approach to public policies, backed by continuously monitoring Guimarães municipality’s Ecological Footprint and providing residents with tools and activities to learn more about opportunities for sustainability.

How does it #MoveTheDate?

Guimarães, the cradle of the Portuguese nation, improves its resilience by tackling its unsustainability hotspots with policies and activities materializing in pedagogical urban gardens, a Rural Base Incubator, and green mobility alternatives to name a few.

How is it scalable?

Described in detail in Galli et al., 2020, the approach for assessing the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity of Guimarães is easily applicable to any city of the world, rendering this analysis replicable across world regions. Furthermore, Guimarães’ approach and strategy to use a new municipal fund to support local sustainability projects can be reproduced by any city in Portugal. Their sustainability education program involves thousands of students to educate the leaders of tomorrow.

What is the solution?

Applying a one-planet-consistent approach to public policies, backed by continuously monitoring Guimarães municipality’s Ecological Footprint and providing residents with tools and activities to learn more about opportunities for sustainability.

How does it #MoveTheDate?

Guimarães, the cradle of the Portuguese nation, improves it resilience by tackling its unsustainability hotspots with policies and activities materializing in pedagogical urban gardens, a Rural Base Incubator, and green mobility alternatives to name a few.

How is it scalable?

Described in detail in Galli et al., 2020, the approach for assessing the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity of Guimarães is easily applicable to any city of the world, rendering this analysis replicable across world regions. Furthermore, Guimarães’ approach and strategy to use a new municipal fund to support local sustainability projects can be reproduced by any city in Portugal. Their sustainability education program involves thousands of students to educate the leaders of tomorrow.

Starting from the realization that “One Planet” is not a goal but rather an unavoidable physical reality, city-level Ecological Footprint Accounting helped the administration of Guimarães, Portugal, play a critical role in the transition towards a more sustainable and climate-aware development by first quantifying the extent to which the municipality contributes to current resource use and then understanding where and how to act to reverse current trends.

Addressing the transition towards a more sustainable society via an overarching metric such as the Ecological Footprint made it possible to inform citizens about cities’ overall human demand on the planet ecosystems, thus connecting local actions and policies to global sustainability objectives and agendas. Described in detail in Galli et al., 2020, the approach for assessing the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity of Guimarães is easily applicable to any city of the world, rendering this analysis replicable across world regions.

The One-Planet approach and mindset has been infused in the municipal administration of Guimarães. The multi-year project began in 2017 and was jointly implemented by the University of Aveiro, the NGOs ZERO and Global Footprint Network, as well as pioneer local government authorities. The scope of the project was: 1) measuring municipalities’ biological resource regeneration, as well as pressure on their ecosystems, 2) starting a knowledge-awareness-action journey for the local residents via increasing their awareness of the environmental consequences of lifestyle and consumption patterns and ways to contribute transitioning to a sustainable society, and 3) understanding the importance of the access to, and interpretation of, robust environmental accounting data for local public policies and developing new political approaches at the local and national levels.

Today, Guimarães has created pedagogical urban gardens, a Rural Base Incubator, and green mobility alternatives, among many other initiatives. In fact, Guimarães was awarded the 2021 Portuguese National Sustainability Price for the category “Well-being and Sustainable Cities”.

The headquarters of sustainability practices in the municipality is the Landscape Laboratory, established by City Hall in collaboration with the University of Minho and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro. This research center uses the context of Guimarães to test some important and innovative solutions on areas such as Nature and Biodiversity, Landscape, Geography, Rivers management, Circular Economy and Urban development, as well as sustainable Tourism. In addition, the Landscape Laboratory is the municipal center for environment education, responsible for implementing Educational Program for Sustainability (Programa Ecológico de Guimarães para a Aprendizagem do Desenvolvimento Ambiental Sustentável – PEGADAS). This program aims at educating future generations towards sustainable behaviors and it is responsible for mobilizing, engaging and raising awareness among citizens on the importance of nurturing local Natural Capital. Since 2014, it has engaged more than 10,000 students.

There’s no benefit in waiting!

Acting now puts you at a strategic advantage in a world increasingly defined by ecological overshoot. Countless solutions exist that #MoveTheDate. They’re creative, economically viable, and ready to deploy at scale. With them, we can make ourselves more resilient and #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day. If we move the date 6 days each year, humanity can be out of overshoot before 2050.