Archive for Green Economy

Short Circuit Report – the True Cost of Our Electronic Gadgets

Gaia Foundation, ABN, and allies have just launched Short Circuit Report:  The Lifecycle of our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth

ShortCircuitReportA new report launched by The Gaia Foundation, African Biodiversity Network (ABN), and allies, exposes the social and ecological atrocities and the toxic legacy of gadgets such as smartphones and laptops. From environmental destruction and contamination caused by extraction, exploitative working conditions during production, to the mountains of e-waste being shipped abroad, the report follows the birth, life and death of everyday gadgets and reveals their true cost to the planet and to future generations.

Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth is the follow-up to the 2012 report, Opening Pandora’s Box, which exposed the alarming scale and rate of growth of the extractive industries and the disastrous ecological impact that this is having across the world. Short Circuit turns our attention to a key driver of this growth – the surge in consumerism and an increasingly throw-away culture, fuelled by marketing and illusions of necessity, and supported by the built-in obsolescence of our electronic gadgets.

Among the thought provocative Stories of Creativity included in the report is Reconnecting with Earth Our Source of Life and Law by Carine Nadal which examines how we can re-connect with Earth, relearn her laws, and recognize Rights of Nature.

You can download the full report as a pdf here: SHORT CIRCUIT or read the Executive Summary.


Rethinking society from the ground up – Foundation Earth

One of the most promising aspects of the recent Rio+20 Earth Summit are the creative juices that have been triggered to define new, viable solutions – or identify existing ones for that matter – to redirect the course for the future of our planet.  For Rio+20, Foundation Earth introduced The Economic Rethink: Who does it well? report card to assess what countries are doing some things right for our planet.  The report defines criteria for creating a “deep green economy” and assessing the status of necessary societal shifts in three key areas:  Economy, Ecology, and Equity.

Rights of Nature is defined as an Equity measure.  The first report reflects who is doing well on each of the 16 criteria and how does Brazil, Rio+20’s host country, compare.

Economic Rethink logo by Foundation Earth

The following excerpts are from The Economic Rethink:

The most important environmental or human rights policy is economic policy. That means changing the very basis of the failed system that created the problem. We need a deep green economy – not a green-washing economy. We must ecologize the economy. We can select where it is good to grow, but we must also select where to de-grow. Page three highlights societal shifts in the economic, ecological, and equitable areas to help us think about getting it all right.

Imagine people living without waste, with basic needs met, and in sync with the planet’s nourishing web of life. In our current maddening reality, it can be difficult to picture and achieve this better world. To start, we must help under-consumers (the malnourished and wanting) move up to a sustainable level of consumption while we assist over-consumers (the wasteful and indifferent) down. We must protect the remnants of wild nature and allow for damaged land, water, and sky to heal.

We reviewed more than a dozen scorecards that grade nations on their performance. In this report, we call attention to a short but meaningful list of shifts from around the world that begin to add up to what is necessary to save and restore our planet. We also looked at Brazil, host to global leaders at the June 2012 Rio+20 conference. How does Brazil (or your country) measure up? Remembering that the changes must be commensurate with the scale of the problems at hand, Brazil has a long way to go. Additional material, including footnotes, is on Foundation Earth website at We welcome your suggestions.

Imagine again for a moment: if every country made the changes suggested herein, we would be well on the way to a more socially just and ecologically sensible way of living – in just one generation. We hope this helps you picture a meaningful shift to a better world.

To view Foundation Earth’s Rio+20 Report Card visit The Economic Rethink: Who does it well?

Alternatives to the Green Economy from Bolivian Civil Society

Excerpts from articled submitted to Global Transition 2012 by Guest Author. For complete article visit: Alternatives to the Green Economy from Bolivian Civil Society

cc licensed flickr photo by Martin_Heigan

Rio+20 will be the most important global summit for decades as the world faces financial, energy, climate, ecological and food crises. Multinational companies and developed countries want to impose the “green economy” at Rio+20 to save the capitalist system, says the Bolivian Climate Change Platform*.

The proposed version of the green economy aims to turn nature´s functions and cycles such as carbon capture and oxygen generation by trees into fictitious products, referred to as “environmental services”, to be bought and sold on markets. Not only does this fail to make sense in the real world (how do you sell air on a stock exchange?) but it is presented as Can proponents of the green economy really expect the same financial instruments that plunged the global economy into recession, will somehow protect nature and at the same time reduce poverty?

Alternatives to the Green Economy

We do not own nature; we are part of Mother Earth.

It will not be possible to find a solution to the current crisis in an economic vision based on the ownership of nature. We do not own nature; we are part of Mother Earth. There is an urgent need to change the paradigm of capitalist development and to begin a transition to a new global economic model to re-establish the balance with Mother Earth. But, alternative visions already exist.

The vision of Living Well (Vivir Bien) and the Rights of Mother Earth is to live in harmony with nature on the basis of complementarity and solidarity between peoples. There needs to be an equal redistribution of wealth and production models must be directed to meet the needs of women and men, whilst respecting and caring for Mother Earth rather than promoting the accumulation of wealth.

These ideas form the basis of the concrete proposals put forward by global civil society when over 30,000 people met at the World People´s Conference on Climate Change held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2010. Proposals for other forms of development must respect and recognise the cosmovisions (world views) of indigenous peoples such as the right to collective territory, ancestral knowledge and holistic management of their economies.

We need to go beyond the concepts of “environmental services” and “natural capital”. Indigenous peoples have applied alternative models for the holistic management and use of forests, water and land for generations. There are ways to care for the environment without buying and selling it.

Putting a price on nature is not the solution and will only benefit big capital, while deepening the multiple crises we are facing.

* The complete text of the Bolivian Climate Change Platform position on Rio+20 can be found at this link ( The Platform is a civil society network with representatives from the two main indigenous movements who represent 36 indigenous nations, water movements, small-scale farming associations and key NGOs from across Bolivia. Website: