Sustainable Economics

Key ideas

Circular Economy 

Cradle to Cradle Design

Measuring Quality of Life


Quality of Life &a Healthy Economy

Essential  Questions
Quality of Life: What are three things that  most contribute to your  quality of life?
What are the indicators of a healthy economy?


What’s Wrong with the GDP ? 

•GDP Treats Crime, Divorce, and Natural Disasters as   Economic Gain

•GDP Ignores the Non-Market Economy of Household & Communities

•GDP Treats the Depletion of Natural Capital as Income

•GDP Increases with Polluting Activities and Again with Clean-Up

•GDP Takes No Account of Income Distribution

•GDP Ignores the Drawbacks of Living on Foreign Assets


21st Century Goals and Indicators

Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)


•The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a new measure of the economic well-being of the nation from 1950 to the present

•It includes more than 20 aspects of our economic lives that the GDP ignores, including:

–family and community 

–natural habitat

–volunteer work

–crime and family breakdown


–ozone depletion

–loss of old growth forests

•The GPI is intended to provide citizens and policy-makers with a more accurate barometer of the overall health of the economy, and of how our national condition is changing over time

What is an Ecological Footprint?


 The Ecological Footprint measures what we consume of nature. It shows how much productive land and water we require to produce all the resources we consume and to take in all the waste we make. The Ecological Footprint is another quality of life indicator.

How Big is your Footprint?


Sample Community Indicators 

•Housing supply

•Civic engagement (rates of voter participation, diversity of local government officials)

•School enrollment

•Percentage of nesting eagles that successfully reproduced

•Presence of certain toxins in the Bay

•Productivity of tidal clam flats

•Per capita income levels

•School test scores and adult literacy rates

•Amount of recyclable materials used in housing construction

•Number of trees and shrubs

•Population density of the area

•Amount of material trucked in from further than eight miles away

*source The Cloud Institute 


Regenerative Enterprise

•''A regenerative enterprise aims to reverse the degenerative trends of our current (financial growth obsessed) economy by supporting a healthy pool of nurture capitals (social, cultural, spiritual and living capital) at local and regional scale.

• It does so by effectively transforming financial capital into living capital as the basis for supporting all other forms of capital.

•In supporting the personal development of all the people involved in a regenerative enterprise, a business increases its effectiveness and chances of success.

• Overall success critically depends on the way businesses optimize for multiple forms of capital by collaborating within the regenerative enterprise ecology they participate in. Such business ecosystems are culturally transformative as they offer “new routes for the flow of financial capital into regenerative venture” (p.57).

•Many pioneering businesses and entrepreneurs are already exploring the vast potential for enterprise creation in service of regeneration through regenerative design† and are already living the question of how we can co-create enterprises that regenerate the health and productivity of our communities and ecosystems. By caring for and working towards the health and well being of our communities and ecosystems, enterprises can collaborate to become catalysts of a culture of regeneration''.


types of capital.png

•Social capital: the influence, relationships and networks an individual, business or community can draw upon

•Material capital: the physical resources, infrastructures and technologies

•Financial capital: money, currencies, securities and similar financial instruments currently facilitating the exchange of goods and services

•Living capital: soil, water, biodiversity, human health, the health of other organisms and healthy ecosystems functions

•Intellectual capital: ideas, concepts, and knowledge

•Experiential capital: actual embodied know-how, built from personal experience

•Spiritual capital: an entity’s internal connection and awareness of a greater whole

•Cultural capital: emerging from the “shared internal and external experience of a group of people: Cultural capital is an emergent property of the complex inter- capital exchanges in a community, village, city, bioregion, or nation […]”.



1.What are we already doing?

2.What might we want to change?

3.What do we need to stop doing?

4.What do we need to start doing?

GEN Economics Design Cards


The three goals of the sustainability transition

  1. Sufficiency and equity: well-being of all people, communities and ecosystems

  2. Efficiency: minimal throughput of matter–energy–information

  3. Sustainability: least impact on nature, society and future generations








Seven organizing principles for sustainability

  1. Satisfying the basic human needs of all people and providing them with an equal opportunity to realize their human potential

  2. Material needs should be met materially and non-material needs non-materially

  3. Renewable resources should not be used faster than their regeneration rates

  4. Non-renewable resources should not be used faster than their substitution by renewable resources

  5. Pollution and waste should not be produced faster than the rate of absorption, recycling or transformation

  6. The Precautionary principle should be applied where the ‘response’ time is potentially less than the ‘respite’ time

  7. ‘Free-energy’ and resources should be available to enable redundancy, resilience and reproduction


Five strategies for land use management

  1. Enable a long-term ecological succession from forest to cropland to city to forest

  2. Design the landscape first; situate the city in the interstitial niches

  3. Land use transitions governed by the demand for ecosystem services, resource potential, natural ecological succession and contiguity

  4. Identify static and dynamic elements in the city, design the former, and provide a dynamic vocabulary for the latter to co-evolve with the landscape

  5. Devolve governance and taxation to the lowest viable level

Six tactics to manage physical stocks and flows














  1. Use less with Factor 4 technologies for supply and social limits of sufficiency and equity on demand

  2. Grow your own; tapping harvestable yields as autonomously as possible

  3. Build two-way networks for security: every consumer is also a producer

  4. Store a lot because renewable resource yields are often diurnal and seasonal

  5. Transport less over shorter distances using least life cycle cost technologies

  6. Exchange using intelligent wireless networks to enable real-time trade and delivery of goods

*source: The Natural Advantage of Nations: Business Opportunities, Innovation and Governance in the 21st Century

land planning.jpg
t 2IMG-20181205-WA0017.jpg
harvest 1.png
harvest 2.png
harvest 3.png
harvest 4.png