Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament
Edited by Joshua Farley and Deepak Malghan
Chapter 15: The unfinished journey of ecological economics: toward an ethic of ecological citizenship
‘Use’ as our primary relationship with the planet must be abandoned . . . Intimacy with . . . its wonder and the full depth of its meaning is what enables an integral human relationship with the planet to function. It is the only possibility for humans to attain their true flourishing while honoring the other modes of earthly being. The fulfillment of the Earth community is to be caught up in the grandeur of existence itself and in admiration of those mysterious powers whence all this has emerged. Berry (2000, p. xi) The fundamental insight of ecological economics is to insist that the human economy must be seen as embedded in the Earth’s biophysical systems. An essential property of those systems is that they are open to energy from the sun, but closed to matter – that for all practical purposes nothing ever leaves or arrives on the Earth. This perspective dates from the work of economists Kenneth Boulding in the 1960s and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen in the 1970s and has been developed in the work of Herman Daly whose life and work we celebrate here. Further advances have been secured by Robert Costanza and many others educated in physics, biology and ecology.
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