‘Real action requires us to recognise the limits to growth … But we must act now…’
These are words in the final paragraph of Enough isEnough, a book by Rob Ditez and Dan O’Neill. How do we build a sustainable economy in a world of finite resources? This is the biggest challenge of our age and time is short. If this was a game of football we would be two goals down and approaching half-time. The game isn’t lost but we need to get back in the dressing room and work out if we play for the win, or accept defeat. The problem is we have one pitch and one opportunity. If we lose the ‘game’ to save the planet, it would be many thousands of years before nature recovers ‒ and humans may not be part of it.
Rob Ditez , Dan O’Neill are advocating a steady-state economy, the route that Herman Daly has espoused for over 40 years. In the 1970s we had all to play for and if we had listened we could have a stable and sustainable economy by now. But we adopted the game plan of economists wearing blinkers arguing for economic globalisation. It has been a great play down the middle but we lost a couple of goals through forgetting about what really matters. Economic globalisation is like fielding a team with all forwards but no mid-field or defence. In the scramble for the ball, a lot of mud gets kicked up but we let the environment and economic stability get around the back and bury our aspirations in the back of our own goal.
If the first half of the game was about growing and consuming that has left us with terrible legacy of environmental degradation and an unstable global economy. That is two goals down. To fight back we need to rein back consumption and live better lives. It is not more we need but ‘enough’.