Charles Secrett, well known environmentalist explains:
Let’s start with the apparently bad one … Economists!? Please god, no. A thousand times, no. Why on earth would environmentalists, who come in all shapes, sizes and disciplines, want to be named after the ‘dismal scientists’ (to paraphrase Thomas Carlyle)? We might as well call ourselves bankers.
But that might not be a bad thing either. If you choose your economic approach and type of bank based on society’s needs and evidence of what works best for the real world. Zealot monetarists from the Chicago School, living in the never-never land of rational free markets, ivory-tower academics reducing the all-too human complexities of producer-consumer-investor behaviour to arcane mathematical formulae, or algorithm driven spiv-speculators playing very dangerous games on their super-fast-super-connected-super-computers, do not the tribes of economists or bankers make.
Though they do tend to win most of the prizes, the ears of politicians and press attention.
There are many truly great ‘green’ economists from E.F Schumacher to Amartya Sen (the Nobel Committee got one right at least), who recognise the full productive value of delivering sustainable development (sustainability) in the round, generating honest capital and maximising human well-being. We can call this environmental or green economics. Just as there are great green banks like Triodos and the Cooperative, which show how responsible, productive wealth creation goes hand-in-hand with environmental safeguards and social good (and which made strong profits throughout the latest credit-debt crisis).
This article was first published by Charles Secrett, Founder of the Robertsbridge Group in February 2012. Charles Secrett is also Chair of The Triodos Bank Renewable Energy Fund. Some of his earlier work: Advisor and Programme Director (Sustainable Cities), Respect, Special Advisor on Climate, Environment and Sustainability to the Office of The Mayor of London and Visit London and Executive Director, Friends of the Earth(FOE) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).