Alternatives Journal Special Issue: Ecological Economics

In 2017 I edited a special issue of Alternatives Journal on Ecological Economics. It was a lengthy process, but the final product is a really nice magazine with accessible and interesting articles on EE.

My editorial from the issue:

My life changed when I became a mother. As I read about soaring GDPs worldwide, I realized that the hardest work I have ever done (raising a human) wasn’t included in my country’s GDP, the main measurement of national success. This didn’t seem right. As of now, our GDP increases when there is a natural disaster and decreases when women leave the
workforce to become mothers.

Being an environmentalist who isn’t good at math (but turns out I’m not a bad programmer…), economics has always seemed like the “enemy.” Eventually, ecological economics became the disciplinary umbrella underneath which everything started to make sense, and gave me hope. But it was a journey getting here.

Within ecological economics, I discovered a plausible system that placed the economy inside the bounds of environmental limits, while at the same time ensuring the integrity of many shared values for Canada’s diverse individuals. Practical applications of ecological economics often place community, diversity, family, justice, equity, and equality at the center of their approach. While I previously thought that economics could only pare Canada’s wilderness down into a cost-benefit analysis, instead, ecological economics offers a holistic approach that puts values and nature back into economics.

I joined the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) to begin channelling my activist energy into a project that seeks to influence the way society behaves. CANSEE and other ecological economists recognize that the economy is embedded in, and dependent upon, the environment. More than that, we recognize that economic activities, how people spend their money, are a pervasive aspect of that dependence, and want to influence
the way people behave economically to limit environmental destruction.

In the last year, we have witnessed the political, social, and economic division plaguing our neighbours to the south. I am hopeful that as a country blooming with diversity we can overcome similar movements here at home. In this issue, CANSEE hopes to demonstrate that ecological economics can be part of a unifying political path.

We want everyone to work less, spend more time with family, take a walk through the wilderness, and promote a healthier and better future for the children of the world.

In this issue, we hope to show you how we can come together within the movement of Ecological Economics. We offer new ways of measuring our well being in a world already seeing the impacts of climate change. We offer ways we can rethink some of the systems we as Canadians cherish like education and healthcare. We look at how the popular resurgence of DIY can not only tap into passionate creativity, but also provide a new framework for consumption and show how indigenous communities can be empowered to lead.

This issue demonstrates a theme – we can’t keep doing things the way we used to, and we don’t have to. We can be innovative, think differently, and tap into existing communities of change. Ecological economics can function as a great unifier. The environmental and cultural values of the discipline depend upon community. Together we can redefine a successful Canada.