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Pacific Ecologist

Pacific Ecologist 19 Spring 2010

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the economics revolution

  • Building an ECO-economy for the earth
    Extensive evidence shows our economy is destroying the environment on which it depends, reports Lester Brown. An economic revolution is needed which respects ecological principles and can sustain human societies into the future.
  • The economics of ecological enlightenment [360K PDF]
    Modern capitalist economics ignores the biophysical world in which we live and is now an immensely destructive force, overwhelming the integrity of ecosystems, endangering humanity and all life on Earth, reports Cliff Mason. Its failure to alleviate the crises it has caused makes it essential to construct a new whole-earth economics informed by a true Enlightenment which restores our relationship with the Earth and its natural limits.
  • Prosperity without growth: Planning for a sustainable economy
    Where is prosperity after 50 years pursuing the narrow aims of economic growth worldwide? Over 60 percent of the world’s ecosystems on which we depend for survival are degraded and over 2 billion people live in poverty on less than $2 daily ,while the richest 20% of people earn 74% of the world’s income. We face the end of the cheap oil era, steadily rising commodity prices, degraded forests, lakes and soils, conflicts over land use, water, fishing, and the challenge of stabilising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, rising now by over 3% yearly. Continuing with growth and all aspiring to the affluence of OECD nations can only lead to increasing destruction of the environment and society. Poorer nations are in urgent need of growth, but we cannot have a fair world unless growth in richer nations is stopped. Twelve steps outline the path to a sustainable economy. Real prosperity is in the quality of our lives and our ability to flourish within the ecological limits of a finite planet. This article is abridged from the report by Professor Tim Jackson of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission.
  • Ecosystem services: Costs of the gulf oil disaster
    The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has caused huge long-lasting damage to nature and the economic wealth it has provided for human society, write John Talberth and Stephen Posner. Unless ecosystem services are included in economic analyses, we will continue to undervalue ecosystem services and assume unacceptable levels of risk in pursuit of energy resources.
  • How to move from a failed growth economy to a Steady-State Economy
    Considering the biophysical limits of the Earth, the notion growth can continue indefinitely is absurd. As the growth economy is becoming uneconomic and failing, the only option is to create a steady-state economy aimed at maintaining a sufficient stock of real wealth to sustain the population and the environment, argues Professor Herman Daly. This article is the result of a lecture given at the United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) conference on 1st June 2009, held in Washington, D.C.

book reviews

  • This Little Kiddy Went to Market by Sharon Beder
  • The Carbon Challenge: New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme by Geoff Bertram & Simon Terry
  • Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by David Korten

tributes to Edward Goldsmith

  • Edward Goldsmith: Pioneering ecologist, activist, lover of life
    Peter Bunyard pays tribute to the extraordinary life and work of pioneering eco-philosopher, Edward Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist in the UK in 1970 and co-founder of Pacific Ecologist in 2002.
  • A true hero of the Earth
    Katherine Victoria Goldsmith reflects on how her husband, founder of The Ecologist, Edward Goldsmith, spurned a life of easy privilege to spend his life studying, writing and vigorously opposing the established ideas of economic progress, in the process galvanising the environmental movement worldwide. This article was written four years before his death in 2009.


  • How consumption not population growth drives climate change
    Increasingly high consumption levels and numbers of consumers drive climate change, not population growth, Dr David Satterthwaite reports. Most nations with rapid population growth have average greenhouse gas emissions per person far below the ‘fair share’ level of 2 tonnes of CO2e per person, while many stable or shrinking populations are rapidly increasing their emissions though they are far over the fair level, averaging 7.1 to 7.5 tonnes per person. A fifth of the world’s population with the lowest income levels account for around 1 percent of all GHG emissions, while a fifth of the world’s wealthiest consumers contribute over 80 percent of emissions and this figure would be higher if emissions were assessed on the basis of household consumption. To get the much-needed rapid decrease in emissions we must focus on rapidly reducing the consumption levels of current and future consumers who are above the fair share and allow many millions of people far below the fair share to increase their emissions.

co-operative sustainable development

  • Inspiration for local economies today: The success of the Spanish collectives
    We are entering an era of severe scarcity and global systems will fail to provide for us, writes Ted Trainer, so we need to develop highly localized economies. The successes of the Spanish workers’ collectives in the 1930s show the organisational miracles ordinary people can achieve, even in difficult circumstances. To develop the essential values and qualities of self-reliance and co-operation to face the global crisis, it’s vital for people to start building aspects of the new society NOW in the towns and suburbs where we live.
  • A brief history of anarchism
    Anarchism is a diverse philosophy arguing the natural state of people is to live together harmoniously, and that authority, law and religion pervert the natural moral sense. To achieve their aims anarchists have created independent communal societies and in the face of state oppression have offered non-violent resistance strategies, which Mahatma Gandhi used to great effect in removing the British Empire from power in India. This article was compiled by Kay Weir.
  • North American union joins forces with world’s largest Spanish co-operative
    A landmark agreement links North America’s United Steelworkers Union with Spain’s MONDRAGÓN, the world’s largest industrial co-operative, reports Kay Weir. It seeks to combine strengths and empower workers to create sustainable employment at a time when millions are unemployed. Its inspiration is a small town in Spain which became a model of co-operative development after a brutal war when people were very poor.
  • The traditional Melanesian economy resilient in global economic crisis
    Vanuatu suffered little from the global economic crisis, as eighty percent of people live in rural areas where the cashless, traditional economy provides people with land to grow their food and the resources for the basic essentials of life. Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and some other Pacific Islands enjoy the same characteristics. Ralph Regenvanu, Member of Parliament of Vanuatu, appeals for recognition of the great strengths and resilience of the traditional Melanesian economy and for government strategies to strengthen and enhance it in development plans. Education priorities should reflect the central role the traditional economy plays in providing livelihoods, security and sustainable development for the people.