photo by robstephaustralia’ s (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

The green economy is the only sustaining economy. It is one that values its natural resources properly and uses them sparingly and for the right intent.

In the spirit of the earlier post on ‘new economics’ or non consumption-based economic ideas that include green issues, here is a bit more on models for economic development that don’t depend on standard GDP growth:

In an interview with The Ecologist, Deutsche Bank economist Pavan Sukhdev explains economic ideas that factor in conservation, climate change, biodiversity and the concept of ‘natural capital’. Proposed and existing models of carbon trading schemes put a negative value on greenhouse gas emissions, so why not put a positive value on the preservation of rainforests and other crucial ecosystems?

At a certain stage I believe that almost any society can reach stages where progress does not result in, or correlate with, getting bigger, i.e. GDP, but progress relates to quality of life as in improved environment, relationships, reduced poverty, inequalities, better protected ecosystems.

–Pavan Sukhdev in The Ecologist

‘Natural capital’ essentially means putting a value on nature or natural resources that isn’t simply based on commerce. In other words – resources such as clean water, food, clean air and their sources have inherent value, yet they aren’t necessarily commodities. We need them and benefit from them whether or not we trade them or make money from them. The poor rural inhabitants of the Earth know this. They may be outside of the growth and consumption based economy, but they already operate in terms of natural capital.

Pavan Sukhdev heads The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study or TEEB, ‘a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward.’

Additional resources:

European Union website – THE ECONOMICS OF ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY