Building a Green Economy
Perspectives from Ecological Economics
Publication Year: 2013
The first decade of the twenty-first century has been characterized by a growing global awareness of the tremendous strains that human economic activity place on natural resources and the environment. As the world’s population increases, so does the demand for energy, food, and other resources, which adds to existing stresses on ecosystems, with potentially disastrous consequences. Humanity is at a crossroads in our pathway to future prosperity, and our next steps will impact our long-term sustainability immensely. In this timely volume, leading ecological economics scholars offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy. Grounded in a critique of conventional thinking about unrestrained economic expansion and the costs of environmental degradation, this book presents a roadmap for an economy that prioritizes human welfare over consumerism and growth. As the authors represented here demonstrate, the objective of ecological economics is to address contemporary problems and achieve long-term socioeconomic well-being without undermining the capacity of the ecosphere. The volume is organized around three sections: “Perspectives on a Green Economy,” “Historical and Theoretical Perspectives,” and “Applications and Practice.” A rich resource in its own right, Building a Green Economy contains the most innovative thinking in ecological economics at a critical time in the reexamination of the human relationship with the natural world.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth’s climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger ...
Perspectives on a Green Economy
Building a Green Economy: The Case for an Economic Paint Job / Robert B. Richardson
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Humans in the twenty-first century are confronted with a new generation of environmental and economic problems of an unprecedented scale and scope. The dual demographic forces of population growth and wealth accumulation have led to a global econ-omy that has, by most accounts, exceeded the natural limits of the biosphere in several ways (Global Footprint Network, 2010; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). Evidence can ...
Taking Ecological Economics Seriously: It's the Biosphere, Stupid / David Korten
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We each come to ecological economics from our own distinctive experi-ence and perspective. We view the world through different lenses and thereby see different truths. Being interdisciplinary is part of what makes ecological economics interesting and potentially powerful. I come from a business school background with a focus on the design of complex cultural and institutional systems. I am primarily concerned with how the interplay ...
Beyond the Ivory Tower: Why Progress Needs More Ecological Economists to Actively Engage / Kristen A. Sheeran
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For many, the choice of economics as a career reflects a desire to under-stand the system of production and consumption, explain the inner logic of economic institutions, and above all to improve economic outcomes. But those who come to econom-ics seeking to improve the world often end up disappointed. They enter a shadowy realm of ever-escalating abstraction from which emerges, again and again, a conservative antireform ...
Ruin and Recovery: The Economics of Michigan's Natural Resources / David Dempsey
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If ever there was a place whose history illustrates the danger of exploit-ing natural resources to the point of economic ruin, that place is Michigan. Located at the heart of the Great Lakes, the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem and the source of nearly one-fifth of available global surface water, Michigan has risen and fallen with the conservation and exploitation of that liquid resource, as well as timber, fish, wildlife, and land. The conser-...
Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
Noble Savages or Consummate Consumers: The Behavioral Ecology of Building a Green Conservation Future / Bobbi S. Low
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Scholars in many fields know the litany of ecological problems we face today: a changing climate, increasingly severe floods and droughts, the extirpation of many species. Today we are more numerous and consume more per capita than ever before. One prominent “explanation” is that we are so isolated from ecological forces that we have no idea of our impacts. If we were to return to our “Noble Savage” state, consuming less, all would ...
Green Keynesianism: Beyond Standard Growth Paradigms / Jonathan M. Harris
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We have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand. The result is that our possibilities of In the wake of the global financial crisis, Keynesianism has had something of a revival. In practice, governments have turned to Keynesian policy measures to avert eco-nomic collapse. In the theoretical area, mainstream economists have started to give grudging ...
The Economics of Information in a Green Economy / Joshua Farley and Skyler Perkins
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Building a green economy confronts two critical and conflicting scale issues. To avoid environmental catastrophes, we must dramatically reduce throughput—carbon emissions alone must fall by over 80 percent. However, modern economies are so dependent on fossil fuels and other forms of throughput that far more modest reductions could result in economic catastrophe. New technologies can help bridge the gap between these two ...
The Evolution of Ego'n'Empathy: Progress in Forming the Centerpiece for Ecological Economic Theory / William M. Hayes and Gary D. Lynne
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This chapter explores the evolution of Hayes and Lynne’s (2004) Ego’n’Empathy(EnE) hypothesis working to move beyond neoclassical economics (NCE) and nudge toward a centerpiece for ecological economics (EE). Results are encouraging, trans-disciplinary support is good, new directions are considered, and there is new and common ground for EE and NCE. Empathy is in that ground, a key force in the adoption of conserva-...
Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Excess / Ed Lorenz
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They were careless people . . . they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them While innumerable historic examples exist of abuse of individual power and excessive self-interest, recent financial crises illustrate that today such abuses can impact large numbers of people and communities around the globe. Individual excess transitioned ...
Environmental Justice Challenges for Ecosystem Service Valuation / Matthew A. Weber
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In pursuing improved ecosystem services management, there is also an opportunity to work toward environmental justice. The practice of environmental valuation can assist with both goals, but as typically employed obscures distributional analysis. Fur-thermore, valuation techniques may provide misleading or flawed information for weighing outcomes across groups. Pitfalls, solutions, and research needs are summarized at the nexus of ...
Applications and Practice
Assessing the Trade-Offs for an Urban Green Economy / Myrna Hall, Ning Sun, Stephen Balogh, Catherine Foley, and Ruqi Li
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Advocates of green fuels, green infrastructure, and green jobs propose implementation of various nature-based technologies to revitalize the economies of cities. Some, such as tree planting, provide ecosystem services such as reduction of urban air pollut-ants, temperatures, and storm water runoff. Others, such as solar energy capture technologies, are intended to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and home energy costs. Yet others, such as ...
Green Jobs: Who Benefits? : Demographic Forecasting of Job Creation in U. S. Green Jobs Studies / Kyle Gracey
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More than twenty studies have attempted to assess net job creation through the growth in green jobs (Kammen, Kapadia, and Fripp, 2004; Center for Energy Economics, 2008). None have considered what the demographics of these jobholders might be. Using 2000–9 gender and race percentages from the Current Population Survey for detailed occupation and industry categories, a variety of periods of lagged linear regressions ...
Great Lakes, Great Debates: Facilitating Public Engagement on Offshore Wind Energy Using the Delphi Inquiry Approach / Erik Nordman, Jon VanderMolen, Betty Gajewski, and Aaron Ferguson
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Land-based wind energy is a mature, established electricity-generating technology. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that in 2009, wind tur-bines generated 10,886 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, enough to power 6.7 million homes (Energy Information Administration, 2011a, 2011b). Offshore locations, including the Great Lakes, offer exceptional wind resources with the potential to produce 50 gigawatts ...
Endogenous Environmental Discounting and Climate-Economy Modeling / Philip Sirianni
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The debate over how to discount public (environmental) versus private (capital) investments in dynamic climate-economy models is well documented: Con-ventional private discounting does not explain the divide between the near-term costs of reducing emissions and the associated far-term reductions in climate damages. We propose an endogenization of discount rates that hinges on the following assumption of human ...
A Genuine Metric for Assessing Business Sustainability / Matthew P. H. Taylor, Darrell Brown, David E. Ervin, Jim Thayer, and Brett Cassidy
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Sustainability measurement by firms has steadily increased over the last decade, driven by an expansion of issues addressed in sustainability reports and a broadening of the relevant stakeholders. As a voluntary process, this process is conducted using a diverse collection of metrics and methodologies, stemming from the unique needs and requirements of individual firms and their operating environments. The resulting heterogeneity in sustain-...
The Case for "Improvement" in Corporate Sustainability Indicators / Richard Grogan
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Building a green economy is, at least in part, predicated on open and hon-est dialogue with stakeholders about organizations’ progress with respect to sustainability. In the private sector, this progress is currently communicated through corporate sustainability reports, which supplement existing government-mandated reports. These reports were the subject of this research study, which content-analyzed 330 corporate sustainability reports ...
Evolutions in Methods and Technology for Research in Pro-environmental Behavior / Douglas L. Bessette and Robert B. Richardson
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Motivating pro-environmental behavior is fundamental to the transition to a green economy and demands an understanding of the determinants of human behavior generally. Most examinations of the factors that influence behavior rely upon stated-prefer-ence surveys, and survey research has long been associated with several types of error or bias, including reactivity, satisficing, recall error, and social desirability bias. Similarly, revealed-...
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Page Count: 326
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: 1st Hardcover
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth