Sustainability and Economics

Duncan Ryan Mann 4x5 - 2012 ESC photo

Duncan RyanMann, Northeast Center, Troy Unit, SUNY Empire State College writes:

“This site presents this theme in two ways….”

“Environmental economics focuses on economic issues related to natural resources and the environment.  Several important topics in the area of natural resource and environmental economics are externalities, property rights, and sustainable populations and development.  Specific problems such as air and water pollution, biodiversity and global warming as well as possible remedies in areas such as water and air quality regulation or recycling are considered in environmental economics.”

“Ecological economics is an emerging field in economics that incorporates fundamental resource constraints and environmental problems into the logic and analysis of approaches for thinking about the economy, markets and public policy.  Much of the focus in ecological economics is on systems, global perspectives, fairness, and long run concerns.  In contrast to traditional or classical economics, ecological economics views the economy as embedded within the ecosystem and very much dependent on the vitality of the biosphere.  Traditional economics typically ignores the value of the environment, except to the extent that externalities can be remedied or controlled through systems of taxes or subsidies.  Ecological economics places greater emphasis on fairness than traditional economics does.  Ecological economists are challenging the way that economic growth is measured and argue that there are better measures than GDP that capture changes in our natural wealth in addition to produced goods and services.”

Below is a list of resources on this topic. Find a more complete list of resources with links for learning and teaching about this topic on our Pinterest site:
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The Economy of the Earth: Philosophy, Law, and the Environment (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Public Policy), Mark Sagoff

The Ecology of Commerce Revised Edition: A Declaration of Sustainability (Collins Business Essentials), Paul Hawken

Ecological Economics, Herman Daly and Joshua Farley

Reinventing Fire, 2011, Amory Lovins,

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, Van Jones

State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability (State of the World), The Worldwatch Institute

The Principles of Sustainability, Simon Dresner

State of The World 2008: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy, The Worldwatch Institute

Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet, Tim Jackson

Web Resources

A New Dynamic: Effective Business in a Circular Economy, Edited by Ellen McArthur Foundation  Guidelines for Preparing Ecological Analysis, EPA National Center for Environmental Economics