Western millennials are technologically savvy, environmentally and socially conscious, entrepreneurial, global citizens. We want a future that is just, progressive, innovative, and meaningful. Ecological economics can help the next generation of adults build this future. Ecological economics provides a sustainable framework that supports entrepreneurship, more free time, equality, and improved well-being.
Ecological economics serves humanity, not economic and monetary growth. We are helping to design a new future – one where we measure our success based on happiness and well-being, rather than economic growth. Ecological economics cannot support unequal distribution of wealth (say goodbye to million dollar incomes), international travel will be more special than it is now; there won’t be a new cell phone every year; and there likely isn’t room for multinational-monopolistic corporations.
But, here’s the 1, 2, 3 of it. While there are a variety of approaches and projects under the ecological economic umbrella, there are three integrated and agreed upon goals.
1. Scale. We live on a finite planet and the economy is a subsystem that must fit within that limit.
2. Fair Distribution. We will maintain social capital and quality of life through even distribution of wealth.
3. Efficient Allocation. We don’t believe the market can regulate itself – it needs help.
In traditional economics, the environment is an “externality” (seen as not really costing anything to use, so it is external to the equation), but in ecological economics it is a greater part of the equation.
Katie Kish is a mum, maker and teacher who loves to explore how people find meaning and purpose through creativity and curiousity. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo, a Lecturer at the University of Waterloo and Vice President Communications for the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics.
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