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economic growth

Human wellbeing threatened by ‘unprecedented’ rate of biodiversity loss

By: 
Mike Shanahan

Nature loss is accelerating worldwide at an unprecedented rate, with grave impacts for human wellbeing, according to a major report approved by more than 130 of the world’s governments.

The report, launched in Paris, France on Monday, says fundamental changes are needed to everything from farming and fishing to private investment and governance to ensure the benefits continue to flow.

While such warnings have been heard before, this is the most comprehensive assessment to date, and the first that governments have come together to endorse. The findings are set to influence world leaders who are meeting in China next year, aiming to reach a new global agreement on biodiversity.

How We, the People, Can Save the Planet

By: 
Gary Null and Richard Gale

The recent release of the proposed Green New Deal is a template, an outline identifying some of the most crucial issues facing the nation regarding climate change and a wish list of measures to address those issues.

But there are plenty of legitimate criticisms too, and progressives would be wise not to let their desire to see pro-environmental legislation enacted at last blind them to the very real problems with Ocasio-Cortez and a legislative blueprint that could very easily become as much of a giveaway to multinational corporations as the Affordable Care Act was to insurance companies.

Neocornucopianism and the Steady State: Part I

By: 
Josh Farley

Perhaps the main reason people reject the need for a steady state economy is some form of cornucopianism, the belief that technological progress will overcome all ecological and physical limits, allowing endless economic growth into the indefinite future. Cornucopianism has several flavors, and I will describe three: mainstream economics, eco-modernism, and singularity theory.

A Not-So-Nobel Prize for Growth Economists

By: 
Brian Czech

How ironic for the Washington Post to opine “Earth may have no tomorrow” and, two pages later, offer up the mini-bios of William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, described as Nobel Prize winners.

Without more rigorous news coverage, few indeed will know that Nordhaus and Romer are epitomes of neoclassical economics, that 20th century occupation isolated from the realities of natural science. Nordhaus and Romer may deserve their prizes for economic modeling, but each gets an F in advanced sustainability.

Decolonisation and Degrowth

By: 
Claire Deschner and Elliot Hurst

Why do degrowth scholars use the word “decolonise” to discuss the process of changing the growth imaginary? Isn’t decolonisation about undoing the historical colonisation of land, languages and minds? How do these two uses of the word relate?

This blog post is the result from a discussion held between some participants at a Degrowth Summer School in August 2017. While some parts of this blog post are written to confront degrowth theory, we took the time to write up the discussions around the word “decolonise” because we think of degrowth as a project worth supporting and a community who is open to reflection. We recognise degrowth is an important academic and activist movement, which correctly diagnoses economic growth as a root cause of social and ecological crisis. We would like to see degrowth concepts spread. However, we have a problem with the use of the term decolonisation within degrowth literature.

After Peak Oil, Are We Heading Toward Social Collapse?

By: 
Sally Dugman

Several years ago, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE), announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau.” However, his statement was not made known through a major US mainstream media outlet. Instead, it was covered in France’s Le Monde.

How to Kick the Growth Addiction

By: 
Tim Jackson

Physics in the mid-1980s in the UK was a difficult and unfulfilling place. I found no joy in the academy, which was not interested in the ideas to which I was drawn. At that time, I also had a passion for playwriting, and the BBC picked up some of my work. After completing my PhD, I moved to London to make a living as a playwright.

It seemed like a good idea, at least until I received my first few paychecks. I was doing odd jobs to supplement my meager income when, in April 1986, the fourth reactor in Chernobyl melted down. That event galvanized my interest in the nexus of economics, technology, and the environment, and inspired me to make a visit to Greenpeace, where I expressed my skepticism of nuclear technologies and my desire to help develop and promote alternatives. I started working as a volunteer and then as a freelancer, analyzing the economics of renewable energy technologies. Before I knew it, without intention or design, I was an ecological economist. The world told me what it wanted me to do. And I haven’t looked back. After thirty years, I still write plays. But the visit to Greenpeace remains pivotal to my trajectory.

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