Members of Rachel’s Network know well the challenges facing us. From reversing ecological and economic collapses to meeting the development needs of seven billion (and growing) residents of our planet, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
But what can one person—or one organization—do? A lot.
Nations, companies, and NGOs are all seeking a new global agenda. Many of these groups are now coalescing around the United Nations’ work to replace the Millennium Development Goals—the targets set back in 2004 for poverty reduction— that expire in 2015.
Join us on an adventure to transform the global economic paradigm. I’ve been asked by the King of the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan to help the world shift its development model away from the current approach of increasing the throughput of stuff and money through the economy (as measured by gross national product, or GNP) to an agenda of increasing human well-being, measured as “gross national happiness.” I’m part of an International Expert Working Group, convened by the King to set forth the intellectual architecture for this new paradigm.
Where do you come in? The Expert Group, chaired by Dr. Robert Costanza and Jacqueline McGlade, has created the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, or ASAP for short, to convene the expertise needed to bring genuine prosperity and well-being to everyone on the planet. ASAP seeks your ideas. The world needs help, and its leaders are asking for your answers.
How do we encourage governments, companies, and an economy obsessed with measuring and growing GNP to shift to maximizing total well-being? For example, a divorcing cancer patient who gets in a car wreck has added to the GNP through payments for services from lawyers, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, tow trucks, and repair shops. Is she any better off? Clearly not. On the other hand, if you stay home to care for your children, volunteer at a home for wounded warriors, care for troubled youth after school, or clean up streams on the weekend, you add nothing to the GNP, but have contributed significantly to a healthier society.
Humankind has all of the technologies needed to solve the crises facing us. Why aren’t we using them? How do we overcome the gridlock of governments, and inspire the best of the private sector to take more of a leadership role?
Please explore the ASAP website. The “Articles” section provides pieces written by ASAP members. See, in particular, “Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in- Nature,” with lead author Robert Costanza. The “Public Forum” invites your best thinking. ASAP experts have been working on this for over three decades. But the state of the world today is a testament
to the fact that we can’t do it alone. The radical utopian forecast is that we can sustain business as usual. It’s not going to be like that.
What sort of future do you want to see for the world? How do you think we can achieve it? What is already working that should be replicated more broadly? What has to be fixed? And what’s the purpose of the economy that we’re all a part of? Do we exist to serve it, or can we transform it, instead, to serve us?
If you have a good idea, but no clue how to achieve it, submit it—maybe another of you has the answer you’re seeking. ALL of us are smarter than any of us. We believe that it is possible to transform the global economy into one that delivers greater human well-being and happiness, while nestling gracefully into the larger ecosystem that sustains all life. Indeed, doing this is key to ending the global economic crisis. We can’t achieve one without doing the other.
Welcome to crafting a future that can work for all humanity. We need this. ASAP.
L. Hunter Lovins is a founding member of ASAP, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, and a Rachel’s Network Advisor. Her 2012 book, The Way Out: Kick-Starting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass, shows that there is a strong and growing case for more sustainable business practices.