Creating an Environmentally Sustainable Economy

Rescuing the planet requires creating an environmentally sustainable economy. Environmental pioneer Lester R. Brown shares the first of a three-part series from his book "Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble", Brown explains how we must quickly reorder our global priorities.


| December 2003/January 2004



A chart showing the past, current and future growth of the world's population.

A chart showing the past, current and future growth of the world's population.


Illustration by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

Learn how a global crisis is immanent unless we create an environmentally sustainable economy.

Creating an Environmentally Sustainable Economy

We risk a global crisis if we continue to define economic growth as progress,' without regard for environmental realities.

Lester R. Brown has helped pioneer the idea of building of an environmentally sustainable economy. In 1974, he founded the Worldwatch Institute, a research organization focused on analyzing worldwide environmental issues. Ten years later, he launched the "State of the World" reports, annual assessments that have become primary references for the global environmental movement.

Now, in this first of a three-part series from his new book, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, Brown explains why he believes we must act quickly to reorder global priorities. — MOTHER

Time is running out. Historically, we lived off the interest generated by the Earth's natural capital assets, but we are now consuming those assets. We have built an environmental "bubble" economy, one in which economic output is artificially inflated by overconsumption of the Earth's natural assets. The challenge today is to deflate the bubble before it bursts.

As world population has doubled and as the global economy has expanded sevenfold over the last 50 years, our claims on the Earth have become excessive.





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