Dr. Mathis Wackernagel and Dr. William Rees, co-creators of the Ecological Footprint, have been named the winners of the 2012 Kenneth E. Boulding Award, the world’s top honor in the field of ecological economics. The biennial award is given to “outstanding individuals who have contributed original and seminal approaches that have furthered our understanding of the interfaces between the social, ecological, ethical, economic and political dimensions of our world,” said The International Society for Ecological Economics in announcing the award.
We’d like to call our Capital Institute community’s attention to four not-to-be missed events upcoming this spring. “Degrowth in the Americas,” to be held in Montreal from May 13 to 19 will focus on what degrowth means for our Hemisphere. BALLE’s “Prosperty Starts Here,” to be held in Grand Rapids from May 15 to 19, is the organization’s annual gathering of local economy entrepreneurs and visionaries. On Earth Day Slow Money NYC will showcase five pioneering food entreprenuers from the lower Hudson Valley of New York in Pocantico Hills, NY. Capital Institute Founder and President John Fullerton will be a speaker at the Degrowth and BALLE conferences. The Public Banking Institute is hosting its inaugural Public Banking Conference in America in Philadelphia April 27 and 28, taking a look at public banking success stories and the hidden costs of our current banking system.
Capital Institute's work on financial system reform is very much driven by the concept of system resilience.
Many members of the Capital Institute community believe that the emerging markets for ecosystem services hold considerable promise as tools for redirecting the flow of capital toward economic activities that honor ecosystem constraints. However, a paper that recently circulated among us entitled "The Environmentality of 'Earth Incorporated'" raised some questions that challenge that belief. The author, Sian Sullivan, argues that the “intrinsic fallacy at the heart” of ecosystem services market initiatives is that they attempt to incentivize environmentally ethical behavior. She maintains that the market does not produce “virtuous behavior” and that it is essentially naïve to take the view that if only we design them correctly we can halt or reverse ecosystem degradation. She further states that the danger of these market initiatives is that they promote the “valuing of nature as money,” and do not acknowledge “nature's immanence or sentience,” or the reality that humans are merely one of many “companions” in nature’s community. Sullivan’s argument might lead one to conclude that efforts to save our fragile ecosystems should be focused more on shifting humanity’s view of its place in the natural order rather than harnessing the financial markets to restore that natural order.
Third Millennium Economy