Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics?

By Maria Grace Hutapea, CAUSES Intern

ISEE 2016 Roundtable: How to Win a Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics. 
Speakers: Peter May, ECOECO Brazil; Clovis Cavalcanti, ISEE President Elect; Sabine O’Hara, ISEE President

Winning the Nobel Prize is no doubt the most prestigious international award for global achievement. While the selection process often drawn criticism due to its political intention, the prize continues to be regarded as the supreme commendation in the world that inspires humankind to strive to fulfill their potential. In the wake of severe economic problems that partly caused by climate change and global warming, the pressure to create a Nobel Prize for Ecological Economics are increased as many hopes that it would influence the world’s economic and political decisions towards ecology and environment protection, especially in the third world countries.         

During the roundtable discussion at the 2016 Conference for the International of Ecological Economics (ISEE), Clovis Cavalcanti, ISEE President Elect, emphasized the need for sustainability in economic development, “There is no society without an ecological system as there can be an environment without society.”

Similar to Cavalcanti, Peter May of ECOECO Brazil highlighted the relationship between the physical and new economy where he urged the need to support diversity and transparency in ecological economy. The relationship between economy and environment have always been mutual. Specifically in the developing countries, environmental problems were mainly as a result of massive exploitation of natural resources, or poor quality of urban sanitation that contributes to pollution in major cities. Additionally, problems also resulted from treatment of industrial, household waste, and the dumping of electronic waste products. The need to grow a country’s economy; combined with lack of education among its citizen is the most powerful tool of environment destruction. Hence, ecology, the protection of environment and the fate of the earth are the most important mission of humanity in the 21st century.
The effort to include ecological economics and sustainability in the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize is led by a group of practitioners in ecological economics. As a matter of fact, the proposal has been advanced to award individuals or other figures in the field of sustainable development. There are three key world figures that have been endorsed to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Sustainable Development: The Club of Rome for bold foresight in commissioning the Limit to Growth study done at MIT in the early 1970s;  Dr. Herman Daly for attempting to revolutionize our thinking by placing the human economy within the finite ecology of our small, shared planet with Ecological Economics of which he is the founder; and lastly Pope Francis for bravely challenging the status quo of an economic growth model that has created gross social inequities and undermined the sustainability of human civilization.

Many scientists and ecological practitioners believe the time has come to create a Nobel Prize for Ecology. Not only will that reward the most distinguished individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the environmental conservation, but also to encourage a global mission to create an ecological economy that is sustainable.

For more information on ISEE, visit www.isecoeco.org.

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