Aug 16 2009

Strong Sustainability for New Zealand

Published by under Meetings

At our next meeting on Friday 28  August, Hugh will present to us the recently released paper on this topic and lead discussion on it. The following comes from the paper’s introduction.

It is vital to understand that human civilisation is an integral part of the ecological systems of the planet.  The present approach to economic and financial affairs is fundamentally inconsistent with strong sustainability and an alternative is required.  A new economics is proposed that has market mechanisms that work to maximise community wellbeing and the happiness of individuals within the limits of ecological principles.  It is based on a quite different set of underlying human ethics and values, and involves major shifts in human behaviour.  Reforms in political structures and institutions are also required on the path to strong sustainability.  It is argued that New Zealand should adopt the principles of strong sustainability and adopt them even if many other countries are not yet doing so.

The presentation is inherently optimistic but the turbulence, hardship and drastic changes that are described may startle. The issues raised must be considered with great urgency.  Although attainment of strong sustainability will take many years, initiatives to begin the process are needed now.

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