Leading scientists and experts urge leaders to move beyond GDP and value nature

Suzanne Fisher's picture
Blog by
21 February 2012

A group of the world’s leading scientists and experts in sustainable development – and all past winners of the Blue Planet Prize – call for bold leadership at the international level that revaluates and "re-engineers" our economic system to bring about real sustainable development in the run up to Rio+20 in June.

Recognise the market and non-market value of biodiversity, listen to grassroots solutions, carry out family planning and reduce our consumption are other urgent changes they call for in order to "live within the limits set by the planet." Interviewees include Sir Bob Watson, the UK government's chief scientific adviser on environmental issues, Prof José Goldemberg, Brazil's secretary of environment during the Rio Earth summit in 1992, and Stanford University Prof Paul Ehrlich.

Most goods and services sold today fail to bear the full environmental and social cost of production and consumption. Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action, has recently called for “a more intelligent growth model”. We asked them whether environmental costs should be integrated into measuring economic activity. If so, how?

The scientists and experts recently met at IIED to write a paper calling for urgent changes to policies and institutions to enable humanity to tackle environmental crises and improve human wellbeing.

Find out more about the paper they’ve recently launched at the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council meeting in Nairobi.

Read a related Guardian article: Civilisation faces 'perfect storm of ecological and social problems'

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