Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Golden rule for a planet

Today is Earth Overshoot Day according to calculations by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN). This means that in the first nine months of this year Humanity has surpassed its natural budget for the year (well, those who like me, and probably you also have access to abundance) . From today and for the rest of the year we will now operate in overdraft, borrowing (stealing) resources from the future.

I can't help wondering what future generations will think of us when they hear of the sharp contrast between the lightness with which we spend our (their) natural capital and destroy our (their) natural assets, and the frenzy with which neo-liberal economists are aggressively campaigning to restrict the expenditures of public administrations to the level of their incomes. Neo-liberal economists call this the Golden Rule and say it's their recipe to save financial markets and services. But shouldn't we develop instead a different kind of  Golden Rule, to save the natural wealth, preserving the services of nature, ecosystems, biodiversity and clean air and water?

A few months ago, in his blog Richard Black of the BBC wondered if anyone had "a big idea" to make the upcoming Rio+20 Conference in June, 2012 a success. And now I hear many people say that with the current financial uncertainties, political leaders have no apetite for another environmental summit. Well, I don't know if it's "a big idea", but -- if the word deficit is the only thing that wakes up political leaders and the markets -- why don't we start designing a Golden Rule to prevent us from being in deficit with nature for a change? And call for its establishment in Rio.

This blogpiece is also available in español, HERE (AQUI) on the website of the Spanish news agency EFE.