Abstract: Our global society is severely addicted to a particular vision of the world and a future that has become both unsustainable and undesirable. The facts about our predicament – climate and environmental disruption, biodiversity loss, growing inequality, financial instability, eroding democracy – have been known for decades. However, the solutions have also been known for just as long. So why have we not made faster progress? What is holding us back? This talk frames our current predicament as a societal addiction to a ‘growth at all costs’ economic paradigm. While economic growth has produced many benefits, its side effects are now producing existential problems that are rapidly getting worse. We can learn from what works at the individual level to overcome addictions to design therapies that may work at the societal scale. The first step to recovery is recognizing the addiction and that it is leading to disaster. However, simply pointing out the dire consequences of our societal addiction can be counterproductive by itself in motivating change. The key next step is creating a truly shared vision of the kind of world we all want. We need to design and test creative ways to implement this societal therapy. The final step is using that shared vision to motivate the changes needed to achieve it, including adaptive transformations of our economic systems, property rights regimes, and governance institutions.
Bio: Robert Costanza (PhD, FASSA, FRSA) is a professor of Ecological Economics at the Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London and an Adjunct Professor at the College of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University, an Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont, and a deTao Master of Ecological Economics at the deTao Masters Academy in Shanghai, an Overseas Expert in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and an Ambassador of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll). He is co-founder and past-president of the International Society for Ecological Economics, and founding editor of Ecological Economics. He is founding editor-in-chief of Solutions and editor in chief of The Anthropocene Review. Professor Costanza’s transdisciplinary research integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address research, policy and management issues at multiple time and space scales, from small watersheds to the global system.
His areas of expertise include: ecological economics, ecosystem services, landscape ecology, integrated ecological and socioeconomic modelling, energy and material flow analysis, environmental policy, social traps and addictions, incentive structures and institutions. He is the author or co-author of over 600 scientific papers and 28 books. His work has been cited more than 130,000 times in Google Scholar with an h-index of 138. More than 360 interviews and reports on his work have appeared in various popular media and he has written over 75 articles for the popular press.
When: Monday 26th September, 4-5 pm
Where: Online, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive zoom details
Organised by CMS, the Collage of Business & Economics and the Institute for Social Change, from the University of Tasmania.