After World War II, a nation that was efficient at producing goods emerged as a picture of prosperity and societal well-being. In many ways, this model shaped the lives of our ancestors and thus our own: the prospect of war, gruesome as it was, provided the economic opportunity for much of the industrialized world to rise above the misery of the Great Depression, and facilitated a greater quality of life for those willing to work towards it. In this way, economic value became increasingly equated with true value, and economic prosperity with true progress and well-being. Eventually, the Gross Domestic Product of a nation became our defining indicator of the past century. But what do people truly want out of life?Read More
When we think of a ‘green economy’, it comes down to two essential concepts: we want to protect our local and global environments while improving our ability to be happy and well. This may seem contradictory – but I can assure you they are not, and that you can be a part of the solution.
In my previous article, I brought to you a representation of how environmental processes link intricately with the health of a city’s economy. This was based on an insightful speech by former mayor of Toronto, David Miller, who also presented an intriguing summary of green initiatives that Toronto has mapped out for its future.
In 1987, Robert Costanza from the University of Maryland (and colleagues) published a monumental paper in the scientific journal Nature, stating the value of global ecosystem services to be between $16 and 54 trillion USD/year – a benefit that isn’t accounted for in most estimates of GNP. Before taking those numbers at face value, I thought to myself – what IS an ecosystem service?