Jul 142010

“We are standing at a moment of substantial transition where we face the dual challenges of a world view and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis – including that of climate change – which threatens to engulf us all.”

“Facing the future, therefore, requires a shift (to an approach) that is more balanced and integrated with Nature’s complexity – one that recognizes not just the build up of financial capital, but the equal importance of what we already have – environmental capital and, crucially, what I might best call “community capital.” That is, the networks of people and organizations, the post offices and pubs, the churches and village halls, the mosques, temples and bazaars – the wealth that holds our communities together; that enriches people’s lives through mutual support, love, loyalty and identity. Just as we have no way of accounting for the loss of the natural world, contemporary economics has no way of accounting for the loss of this community capital.”
“However, we each have within ourselves, as do our communities, more than one aspect to our identities – a complexity which is one of the defining characteristics of our common humanity. In fact, I have a hunch that this cultural diversity may provide us with the intellectual and social resilience to the challenges that we face in this moment of transition, just as biodiversity provides resilience to the domination of diseases found in monocultural systems. And this is why I have again and again been at such pains to convene communities of understanding across different disciplines and economic sectors.”

“That is the challenge we face, it seems to me – to see Nature’s capital and her processes as the very basis of a new form of economics and to engage communities at the grass roots to put those processes first. If we can do that, then we have an approach that acts locally by thinking globally, just as Nature does – all parts operating locally to establish the coherence of the whole.”

“It also validates the need for “Accounting for Sustainability” – a method by which businesses can take proper account of the cost to the Earth of their products and services and which I initiated and launched some four years ago. It is encouraging that this approach is being tested by a range of companies, government departments and agencies and I hope that it can be adopted more generally so that well-being and sustainability can be measured, rather than merely growth in consumption.”

“On the one hand, we have every good reason to believe that carrying on as we are will lead to a depleted and divided planet incapable of meeting the needs of its nine billion citizens, let alone sustaining its other life forms. On the other hand, we can adopt the technologies, lifestyles and, crucially, a much more integrated way of thinking and perceiving the world that can transform our relationship with the Earth that sustains us. The choice is certainly clear to me.”

You can watch this anti-establishment nut give his entire speech in the video below or click this link to read the transcript of his speech.


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