Toward an Earthwise economy, part 1: Ecological economics

The economic crisis we’re in gives us an undreamed-of opportunity to make course corrections in our economy and our lives. Today’s post marks the first in a series taking a serious look at viable alternatives to the economic practices and assumptions that have landed us in the mess we’re now in. Each post will suggest ways we might move the economy in more Earthwise directions–friendlier to the Earth and to everybody living here. My warmest thanks to guest blogger Laurel Ball, who introduces us to ecological economics.

Ecological Economics: Questioning Growth, Fostering Sustainability

By Guest Blogger Laurel Ball

Research Assistant

University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research

Many of us are aware that we’re in an economic crisis, but the problem may be deeper than we realize. Mainstream economists use growth in the physical size of the economy (gross domestic product, GDP) to gauge economic health. According to this school of thought, growth must continue, and a decline in the rate of growth is cause for concern.

However, a growth-based economy ignores the principles of ecology and the laws of physics. Read More…

Rats giggle too

Ten years ago when neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp published his research showing that rats laugh when you tickle them, he might have gotten laughed off the stage. Most people still thought that “sophisticated” emotions like laughter required the kind of consciousness … Read More…

Smoking kills them too

I started a new volunteer job today led by my favorite naturalist in town, Dave Sutherland. I’ll be helping to maintain a native plant garden next to the Ranger Cottage in Chautauqua Park. During our orientation this morning, before we … Read More…

My cousin, the fungus

No, not that cousin. I mean the real fungus, the kind that grows where light is scarce and moisture abundant. We usually think of mushrooms as populating the soil, but I remember a spidery fluorescent orange one that grew in … Read More…