At What Cost Are We Stimulating the Economy?

ON 02/28/2021 AT 04:48 PM

The ecosystem\'s collapse equals economic failure, according to Professor Dasgupta\'s report.

We've all been affected by the pandemic in one way or another. So, let's imagine how a total collapse of our ecosystem would be. Inconceivable! If we continue at the rhythm we are at the moment, this will be the first of many pandemics and many other natural disasters.  

Many would think that the ecosystem's collapse has no precedents, but we're closer than we think. The UK government released a review titled “The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review,” which expresses all the damage our economy has caused to our planet.   

What's this review about, and why is it so relevant?  

This document not only describes a recovery plan to avoid our planet's destruction; it also illustrates the pathway humanity took to cause this disaster in the first place.   

The ecosystem is essential for our survival. How are we supposed to live or do anything if our planet dies? We know that global warming has been threatening our existence from many years ago, but, unfortunately, humanity decided to keep developing the economy to the detriment of nature instead of fixing the issue we initially caused.    

In the section where the report describes the actions to take, there's a touchy line that we must analyze: "(...)while our distant ancestors were incapable of affecting the Earth System as a whole, we are not only able to do that, we are doing it.” 

Since the industrial revolution, we've been releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with a vast amount of toxic waste. The oceans, glaciers, and vegetation indeed help counteract the greenhouse effect by absorbing part of these gases. However, the more gases are released, the warmer the Earth gets, and the ecosystem deteriorates more and more.   

Professor Dasgupta's report establishes three sets of actions we should implement soon to avoid the ecosystem's collapse:

1) Balance the impact equation and increase Nature’s supply.

We can make an impact if the governments invest more in maintaining the Earth rather than trying to recover it. There are many protected areas in the world, including mountains, oceans, and national parks. We should expand and invest in maintaining these areas, and only then can we cover nature's demand. Other actions we can do include: 

    • Improve access to planned parenthood and reproductive system to all members of the community.  
    • Improve the management of the lands and oceans to benefit both humans and nature.  
    • Conscious and sustainable production, supply chains, and consumerism.   

2) Change our measures of economic success.

If we want our race to perpetuate generation after generation, the governments should measure inclusive wealth and not regular models. This index is the sum of three types of capitals: social capital, human capital, and natural capital.   

Here are other measures we can take: 

    • Improve our production measures, considering nature.  
    • Improve our decision-making process, considering natural capital and its importance in our economy.  

3) Transform our institutions and systems.

Our lack of sustainability consciousness is related to our institutions and current systems. If we improve our education system, we'll have a better chance to educate younger generations so they can change humanity's path.  

Within the actions to take, we have: 

    • Motivate citizens to make informed and change-driven decisions.  
    • Effective institutions at all levels of society.  
    • A global financial system that backs up nature.  
    • Reform the education and economy to reflect the essential role of nature.   

What does the future hold for humanity?

The future is uncertain.   

It's up to us if we consider all the studies on the climate crisis, and we put our hands to action. We should put our ego aside and start thinking for the greater good.   

There's no point in keeping our arms crossed while our ecosystem collapses. This will only bring significant consequences to the global economy and, correspondingly, to humanity.