How to Kick-Start the 21st Century Eco-Economy

restore-cover-wri-sml.jpg Toward a Green Economy
By Stephen Leahy*

May 31 (IPS) – Humanity is facing historic and truly unprecedented challenges from climate change and the rapid decline of ecosystems that sustain life.

This article is final part of a three-part series published by IPS on natural capital and how future global prosperity and equity can be achieved through the preservation of ecosystems. See Part One: Like Enron, Earth Inc. Sliding Into Bankruptcy and Part Two: Global Warming is Real But I didn’t Do It 

The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) found that 83 percent of the planet’s natural systems are in serious decline or on the brink. Adding to this already dire situation are the twin pressures of population growth and increasingly consumptive lifestyles.

Global population is expected to soar from today’s 6.6 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Even though we crossed the point of sustainable use of natural resources in the mid-1980s, many of the 2.4 billion people living in China and India are striving mightily right now to approach the materialistic lifestyle of the average North American.

So how can we find our way around the global calamity the human race seems to be hurtling towards?

“Humanity needs a fundamentally new approach to managing the assets upon which we all depend,” said Janet Ranganathan, director of the People and Ecosystems programme at the World Resources Institute, an environmental group based in Washington.

“We need new ways of making decisions at all levels that fully value ecosystems and the services they provide us,” she said.

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