People have lots of different ideas but it’s pretty clear that it’s urgent.
We need a plan to tackle
- The Climate Emergency
- Appalling poverty
Economists and politicians are still chasing growth, promoting privatisation, neoliberal economics – reliance on market forces. There are criticisms that little else is being taught on Economics degrees?
This has to be challenged. There are lots of alternative ideas around.
Three ideas you’ve probably heard of.
Sustainable Development Goals. A great achievement for the United Nations to have got countries to agree to these and it’s an inspirational model and work is being done but we are way off track to achieve them.
Earth’s Life Support System
The economy is basically the way we consume, and the way to produce and commercialise goods. But the economy is a system within other systems. Obviously, the economy can take place only within human societies. Without healthy and thriving human societies the economy cannot be healthy and thriving. And human societies need a healthy environment to thrive. The planet is still our ultimate nourisher. So, do we know what are the planetary boundaries defining a safe operating space for humanity?
In 2009, a team led by Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre defined planetary boundaries.
They wanted to define a “safe operating space for humanity” as a precondition for sustainable development.
The framework is based on scientific evidence that human actions since the Industrial Revolution have become the main driver of global environmental change.
According to the paradigm, “transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems.”
The Earth system process boundaries mark the safe zone for the planet to the extent that they are not crossed.
Here are some short videos which explain planetary limits
Kate Raworth with Doughnut Economics built on these ideas and incorporated the objectives of the SDGs (which she worked on).
The outer ring of the Doughnut represents the planetary limits; the inner ring represents the “social foundation”, the situation in which everyone on the planet has sufficient food and social security. The aim is to get humanity into the area between the rings, where everyone has enough but not too much – or, as Raworth calls it, “the doughnut’s safe and just space”.
There are lots of videos and a series of animations Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist on Kate’s website.
To know more about Cradle to Cradle (C2C), check the Wikipedia entry , the documentary ‘Food=Waste’, or read their books: ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things’ or ‘The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability’.
To know more about Cradle to Cradle (C2C), check Wikipedia, the documentary ‘Waste=food‘, or read their books: ‘Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things‘ or ‘The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability‘.
See the video ‘Olympic cyclist vs toaster’ here.
To know more about the relation between the resources and the physical world in general (especially energy) and economics watch this presentation by Jean Marc Jancovici (he has only very few videos in English) or this other by Nate Hagens (he has many more videos in English, and he also has a very, very good series of videos making a short course in the human predicament).
Find the report ‘Decoupling debunked – Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability’ here.
And remember, we need to approach the change regarding all the aspects and see how all fits together.