William Rees, PhD, is a human ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) in Vancouver, Canada. His research and teaching focus on the biophysical prerequisites for sustainability in an era of accelerating global ecological change. He takes special interest in: a) the vulnerability of cities and; b) human cognition and behavioral tendencies that frustrate sustainability planning.
Rees is perhaps best known in ecological economics as the originator and co-developer of “ecological footprint analysis.” His book on eco-footprinting, with then PhD student Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, has been translated into eight languages including Chinese. He has also authored over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and numerous popular articles, on humanity’s (un)sustainability conundrum. Rees is a founding member and past President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics, a founding Director of the OneEarth Initiative, a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, and a long-standing member of the Global Ecological Integrity Group.
The influence of Rees’ work is widely recognized and awarded. He has been invited to lecture on his work in 25 countries around the world; the Vancouver Sun named Rees one of British Columbia’s top public intellectuals in 2000; in 2006 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2007 he was awarded a prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship. Most recently, Laval University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate and he won both the 2012 Boulding Memorial Award of the International Society for Ecological Economics and a 2012 Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Mathis Wackernagel).