Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Robert Costanza is part of a band of revolutionaries who want to remake Planet Earth.
The University of Vermont scholar shared a set of ideas that would shift focus from expanding material consumption toward an economic model that promotes the well-being of humans and protects ecosystems.
His keynote address Wednesday in Ritsche Auditorium was part of Convocation Week, St. Cloud State's annual assembly of employees, ideas and information.
Costanza is among an international group of ecological economists whose views are coming into the mainstream. Driving acceptance of their ideas: Diminishing fossil fuel stocks, the 2008 global financial meltdown, climate change and overpopulation.
The time is ripe, Costanza said, for leaders to pursue these and other strategies . . .
Costanza is one of the pioneers of ecological economics, a co-founder of the International Society for Ecological Economics, the author of more than 300 scientific articles and the founder of a new journal called Solutions (PDF), which is expected to debut in September.
He serves on the board of directors of Earth Inc., a non-governmental organization that views Earth as an enterprise and her citizens as shareholders.
Among his most startling statements is the assertion that the global recession began decades earlier than 2008. While gross domestic product has been increasing since 1950, Costanza said, human well-being began declining worldwide in 1975.
Convocation 2009 is managed by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, St. Cloud State's engine for inquiry and critical engagement.