Jock Gilchrist, Research Fellow, Natural Capitalism Solutions
In mid-February, Hunter traveled to Seoul, South Korea to deliver a keynote address at the 25th International Science and Reunification Conference. She brought with her a message of economic possibility.
“Today’s environmental crisis is not about morality” she told the audience. She acknowledged that there is a moral element to environmental action—but argued that it hasn’t helped us to solve the problem. Instead, the solutions to our environmental issues come from rethinking and restructuring the global economy to better serve the well-being of people and planet.
In the past, people have believed that “environmental protection and economic progress have been hostile” to one another. The idea of “limits to growth” makes sense only as long as “growth” requires increased extraction of finite resources. But, Hunter says, “it depends on what we seek to grow.”
Hunter argued that we can grow the things we want more of without exploiting the earth. The growth we need is not just the increase of stuff—it should mean the growth of knowledge, health, wellbeing relationships, and art. The economy can grow and thrive in a regenerative way that not only does not damage but replenishes the planet.
As an example, she discussed the trend of young people preferring to own cell phones and not owning cars. “With just a cell phone, you can connect with millions of people and society. If you need a car, you call Uber. ‘Growth’ and ‘profit’ do not have to mean just stripping the earth’s resources” and producing ever-growing amounts of goods.
If environmental problems are economic problems, we need novel economic approaches to forge a new path into the 21st century.
Natural Capitalism Solutions is working to create a regenerative economic hub in the Boulder-Denver area. Click here to learn more about this effort.