Sustainability On A Saturday Afternoon

Here’s what’s on my mind today.  Please take a minute to read this paragraph, which sums up, IMO, one of the largest challenges we face of the 21st Century:

Historically there has been a close correlation between economic growth and environmental degradation: as communities grow, so the environment declines. This trend is clearly demonstrated on graphs of human population numbers, economic growth, and environmental indicators. Unsustainable economic growth has been starkly compared to the malignant growth of a cancer because it eats away at the Earth’s ecosystem services which are its life-support system. There is concern that, unless resource use is checked, modern global civilization will follow the path of ancient civilizations that collapsed through oveexploitation of their resource base. While conventional economics is concerned largely with economic growth and the efficient allocation of resources, ecological economics has the explicit goal of sustainable scale (rather than continual growth), fair distribution and efficient allocation, in that order. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development states that “business cannot succeed in societies that fail”. Sustainability studies analyse ways to reduce (decouple) the amount of resource (e.g. water, energy, or materials) needed for the production, consumption and disposal of a unit of good or service whether this be achieved from improved economic management, product design, new technology etc. Ecological economics includes the study of societal metabolism, the throughput of resources that enter and exit the economic system in relation to environmental quality.

jonathan caren
Van Jones
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