Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) at the city or regional scale does not typically include air travel due to a lack of readily available data. However, knowing the “load” placed on nature by various lifestyle choices, including air travel, is essential if we hope to enable society to live sustainably within ecological limits. This paper provides methods for including air travel in urban EFA, in a manner that is accessible to those that are interested in the complexities of urban sustainability.
As the world urbanizes, the role of cities in determining sustainability outcomes grows in importance. Cities are the dominant form of human habitat, and most of the world's resources are either directly or indirectly consumed in cities. Sustainable city analysis and management requires understanding the demands a city places on a wider geographical area and its ecological resource base. We present a detailed, integrated urban metabolism of residential consumption and ecological footprint analysis of the Vancouver metropolitan region for the year 2006.
In their Perspective in this issue of PLOS Biology, Blomqvist et al.  set out to demonstrate that “Ecological Footprint measurements, as currently constructed, are so misleading as to preclude their use in any serious science or policy context.” Should the reader be confident in this assessment or are Ecological Footprint methods and results adequate to guide sustainability policy?
In Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Jared Diamond asks the obvious question of a forest-dependent society: “What was the Easter Islander who cut down the last tree thinking?” For those familiar with the human tendency to habituate to virtually any conditions, the answer might very well be “nothing much.” The individual who cut down Easter Island’s last significant tree probably did not noticeably alter a familiar landscape. True, that person was likely standing in a scrubby woodland with vastly diminished biodiversity compared with the dense forest of earlier generations.