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Ecological Economics: An Introduction

Does it make economic sense to cut down a rainforest? What influence should trade have on social policy? How much is the future worth? Is all value equivalent? These are all questions common to ecological economics, a cross-disciplinary science that is attempting to reclaim the field of economics from flawed models and unscientific assumptions. An important act within itself, but one made integral as mainstream economics is driving the planet’s sixth mass extinction (Wagler). Economics is often defined as ‘the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy infinite desires’, but this seemingly impossible aim itself belies many unfounded assumptions. Why should we assume everyone’s desires are infinite, or why should we believe all economic ‘resources’ to be inherently scarce when it is often their economic allocation that creates scarcity?

What A Peaceful Build-Up That Evades Ecological Breakdown Would Look Like

Sooner or later other events in this transition period that we’re in will also follow, to further increase the awareness of the seriousness of the climate crisis and possible extinction of our own species. But we have to act fast and get more people to join those already imagining and working on solutions. How can this happen? The first step is to understand the need for a cultural change, because the root cause of our dire current situation lies there. To be more specific: it lies in the unsustainable globalized Western culture. Therefore, changing course can only be achieved by a cultural transformation: we need to address our ways of thinking and change our habits and collective behavior — the way we organize ourselves as societies.

COVID-19 And Circuits Of Capital

COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients. China, its initial outbreak in contraction, presently breathes easier.1 South Korea and Singapore as well. Europe, especially Italy and Spain, but increasingly other countries, already bends under the weight of deaths still early in the outbreak. Latin America and Africa are only now beginning to accumulate cases, some countries preparing better than others. In the United States, a bellwether if only as the richest country in the history of the world, the near future looks bleak.

The Ecosocialist Solution To Ecological Catastrophe

The future of the planet, and thus of humanity, will be determined in the coming decades. Calculations by certain scientists as to scenarios for the year 2100 aren’t very useful for two reasons: A) scientific: considering all the retroactive effects impossible to calculate, it is very risky to make projections over a century.

Our World Is Now Only 8.6% Circular

The global economy is consuming 100 billion tonnes of materials a year for the first time ever, but the cycling rate of resources has gone into reverse. Today, Circle Economy launches the Circularity Gap Report 2020 in Davos. Our world is now only 8.6% circular. Of all the minerals, fossil fuels, metals and biomass that enter it each year just 8.6% are cycled back. This has fallen from 9.1% in the two years since our annual report was first launched in 2018.

Extinction Rebellion Target Institutions Funding Ecological Destruction In City Of London

Extinction Rebellion this morning are disrupting the system bankrolling the environmental crisis. The day started at 7am at Bank Junction when they blocked routes that financial district workers take to work. The day of disruption, which will target financial institutions, seeks to highlight the far greater disruption faced by those living in the environments systematically being destroyed by UK backed companies. The ecological damage is global, and it is hitting the Global South now. Coal, gas and mineral extraction, intensive farming and logging are all supported by large scale investment from the City of London.

What Might Systems Change Look Like?

The UKYCC is back for another 'systems change' article - this week on degrowth. To understand what constitutes systems change, we need to first talk about what isn’t systems change. Have you ever heard of the three-legged stool of sustainability (also known as the three pillars of sustainability)? The three-legged stool is the most common model used when businesses and governments start thinking about social and environmental issues. The idea goes that if the legs on the stool - the economic, social and environmental realms of the world - are balanced, we are achieving a sustainable system.

The Liberatory Potential Of Local Action

We are seeing an inspiring resurgence of progressive action at the local level, even as reactionary nationalist movements in Europe and beyond seek to position themselves as the true voices of a renewed localism. What are the prospects for such locally centered political engagement in a time of rising political polarization and conflict? How can local action help advance personal liberation and social justice? More broadly, how can it further our goals for global transformation? The current upsurge of local action by both progressives and radical municipalists is fueled by several complementary impulses.

China And The Prospects For A Global Ecological Civilization

We now hear daily the news about the tariff conflict with the U.S. and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. But there is a critically important question regarding China’s current and future global impact, that of its potential leadership towards a post capitalist future while confronting the climate crisis. In December 2016, President Xi Jinping called for the “building of socialist ecological civilization” for China, and “policies [that] contribute more to a greener China and global ecological security” (Xinhua, 2016).

Ecosystems And Ecological Breakdown

The first of the 'system change' blog series from the UK Youth Climate Coalition. Ecosystems - defined as ‘all the living things in an area and the way they affect each other and the environment’ - are central to how the natural world functions. They depend on something referred to as ‘dynamic equilibrium’ for stability. That is to say, through constant rebalancing, a stable ecosystem can thrive. The threats to balance in an ecosystem may be a natural disaster or the spread of disease, for example...

Only Rebellion Will Prevent An Ecological Apocalypse

No one is coming to save us. Mass civil disobedience is essential to force a political response. Had we put as much effort into preventing environmental catastrophe as we’ve spent on making excuses for inaction, we would have solved it by now. Everywhere I look, I see people engaged in furious attempts to fend off the moral challenge it presents. The commonest current excuse is this: “I bet those protesters have phones/go on holiday/wear leather shoes.” In other words, we won’t listen to anyone who is not living naked in a barrel, subsisting only on murky water. Of course, if you are living naked in a barrel we will dismiss you too, because you’re a hippie weirdo.

Saving Ecosystems To Protect The Climate, And Vice Versa: A Global Deal For Nature

For years, experts in conservation and climate science have urgently pursued two parallel paths—one to interrupt a large-scale extinction event, the other to avert a runaway climate crisis. Now, an international group of scientists is proposing a third way that marries the two in an ambitious plan they hope will save the species that make our planet so rich—including ourselves. They set out their timetable in a paper released Friday in the journal Science Advances calling for a "Global Deal for Nature." Its unified objective: protect the ecosystems to combat climate change; combat climate change to protect the ecosystems.

How Ending Austerity Built Economic Growth In Portugal

Since Britain voted to leave the E.U. in 2016, the country has witnessed an alarming spike in rightwing hate crime. Many are now warning that the “febrile” atmosphere escalating around Brexit as leaders struggle to come to an agreement could be further exploited by far-right extremists. Though it’s not just Britain that is seeing a surge in far-right populism. Rightwing protests fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment are hounding Germany’s streets. Sweden’s once fringe far-right party, the Sweden Democrats, are rising in popularity threatening to stop asylum seekers coming into the country. Hungary, Poland, Austria and Finland are all experiencing a reactionary surge.

Democracy And Ecological Crisis

Last fall 15,000 scientists issued a second dire notice to humanity that we are on a collision course with the limits of our planet. They concluded, “To prevent widespread misery, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual,” including “reassess[ing]… the role of an economy rooted in growth.” That means that we have to challenge capitalism; there is no capitalism without growth. Rosa Luxemburg’s statement on the eve of World War I that the choice is between socialism or barbarism was never more true. But today our struggle is about our very existence. This reality should shape the way we think about politics and how we do politics. Democracy is often said to be both the means and the end of socialism. Capitalist societies are peculiar class societies in that, especially the United States, they are said to be democratic. So what do we mean by “democracy” and by “socialism?”

Paris Is Building The Eco-Community Of The Future Right Now. Here’s How.

May 23, 2018 — Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30 percent complete and is slated to be finished in 2020. In 2007, Paris became one of the first municipalities in the world to adopt a climate action plan, setting goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions above and beyond those outlined by the European Union. Employing virtually all the tools in the green builders’ toolkit, Clichy-Batignolles aims to be tangible evidence of the city’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint as well as an experimental laboratory for testing what’s possible in climate-sensitive redevelopment.
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