Eating away at our life support systems

Posted in: Comment, New Publications

The Guardian has reported on two recent research studies that it says:

"... have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results.  Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded “safe” levels – human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertiliser use."

These will be discussed at Davos later in the month.  There's a nice graphic and the piece concludes with a comment from one of the authors that the research showed the economic system to be “fundamentally flawed” as it ignored critically important life support systems.  He added:

“It’s clear the economic system is driving us towards an unsustainable future and people of my daughter’s generation will find it increasingly hard to survive.  History has shown that civilisations have risen, stuck to their core values and then collapsed because they didn’t change.  That’s where we are today.”

Is it too late for environmental education, do you think?  Of course, it's a pity that environmental education has never taken economics seriously – or vice versa.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications


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  • Agree on your final point here. As I think you know, some of us are attempting to think through EE and capitalism's current neoliberal variant. I see this as a small part of a much larger project, and in that regard, I'd be curious to know how you envision environmental education taking economics seriously, and vice versa. What does this look like to you?