Gaia is in Ecological Overshoot

Working towards a Wellbeing Economy that goes Beyond Growth

Do you, or does your organisation have the the courage to look beyond growth economics? The topics below categorise how the necessary social changes can come about in order to achieve maximum mitigation from the climate and ecological collapse that is now unfolding. Projects of this type will grow ideas and experience and raise global awareness of the urgent need to minimise our global ecological footprint, and provide examples of how to change from prioritising financial wealth to treasuring ecosystems health. 

The categories suggested below are designed to inspire individuals, groups, and communities to move beyond growth economics; and instead to encourage a global economy that seeks to redeem the global ecological debt. Readers are encouraged to drill-down on the topics that are of interest to them, to learn how they, or the group that they represent, can contribute to the ongoing collective envisioning process. The broad project categories are described below.

Raising Ambition

When an organisation claims to be ‘net zero’, this is meaningless unless every member of staff lives a net-zero lifestyle.  Organisations that are willing to engage their staff in a soul-searching exercise to achieve this ultimate ‘net-zero’ status can apply for help to deliver this discussion and share their progress and outcomes to help others. 

Raising Awareness

Projects that raise public awareness about ecological overshoot and the insights from I=PAT and the Jevons paradox, are key to raising public understanding that growth economics degrades our environment. Intellectual debates on important but overlooked research is also needed to break down the barriers that exist in the prevailing worldview. For example the Bystroff demographic model which takes into consideration ecological stress factors, and the Lucia Tamburino research into overpopulation. These projects will challenge the prevailing peer pressure to overconsume and overpopulate. See also the category ‘ecological ethics’. 

Emotional Evolution and Altered Expectations

We need projects that inspire both global and local interconnectedness, which help us to alter our expectations and accept that we have caused the dangerous predicament of ecological overshoot.  This process of achieving a higher level of emotional and spiritual maturity will help us to accept that our future requires a very different set of priorities because of the escalating climate and ecological breakdown that has been triggered.  Emotional maturity is needed to enable reparations to be offered voluntarily. Projects that utilise creative imagination, arts and culture will provide the key to building emotional resilience as we collectively learn to face our man-made predicament with courage, realism and resolve. For example, sport, song, and dance, that is enjoyed locally will inject the fun-factor into the process of emotional evolution while inflicting minimal ecological damage. These are a better way to spend our time than all the non-essential, arduous, and ecologically damaging, work that is currently pursued for financial profit.

Ecological Ethics

Public discussion is needed around the ecological ethics of the high eco-cost of health and social care that prevails in the affluent countries.  All public services come with a high ecological cost, this is one of the reasons that a relatively poor person living in an affluent country will still have a high ecological footprint.  Projects relating to scaling down and altering expectations from public institutions are key to devolving the responsibility for long-term survival to local communities.  These projects need to inspire and engage local communities so they are empowered to imagine the way forward from our current predicament.  Much of the judicial and retail services that maintain the current civilisation would be greatly reduced in a society focussing on minimal consumption.  We invite projects that are rethinking travel, leisure, education, in fact any aspect of modern life, with a view to minimising our ecological demands. 

Building Community Resilience

Projects that empower a community to detach itself from its dependence on the state, by sharing resources and skills in a manner that minimises ecological footprint will help to relieve the reliance on the state, and foster more realistic expectations and plans for the future. 

Universal Basic Provision – Connecting the Affluent and the Afflicted

A huge transformation in the interpretation of what ‘meaningful work’ involves is envisaged. Any projects that will facilitate the basic provisions that people will need whilst this upheaval in the workplace takes place are very helpful.  Also projects that deliver sustenance in areas that are already crippled by climate and ecological collapse will alleviate suffering and stem the flow of climate and economic migrants. Schemes that link affluent communities to afflicted communities will be especially helpful to raise awareness of the injuries caused by affluent lifestyles and work towards delivering reparation. All these schemes, in affluent or afflicted areas, will need to be accompanied with the provision of free family planning services, and education about overshoot and the fact that childbearing will further exacerbate the challenges to survival that any recipient of Universal Basic Provision is already facing. 

Advocating for a UN Charter for Ecological Justice

All the broad project-categories mentioned below pertain to the concept of ecological justice that is outlined in the social science paper ‘Scientists Warning proposes a Roadmap to Ecological Justice‘. Some of the projects that are suggested may be eligible for funding from the Gaia Foundation. Further background is available in the proposal from Poems for Parliament to the Gaia Foundation at this link. If you would like assistance preparing an ‘Expression of Interest’ to submit to the Gaia Foundation, please contact Barbara Williams through email

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