Part 4
Charting a New Course

 

“We have gone far down an alternative path – creating a society in which materialism dominates moral commitment, in which rapid growth that we have achieved is not sustainable environmentally or socially, in which we do not act as a community to address our common needs, partly because rugged individualism and market fundamentalism have eroded any sense of community and have led to rampant exploitation of unwary and unprotected individuals and to increasing social divide. There has been an erosion of trust – and not just in our financial institutions. It is not too late to close the fissures.”

“Some of the debates that we have concerning trade-offs between the environment and economic growth are off the mark…Our economic growth has been based too on borrowing from the future: we have been living beyond our means. So too, some of the growth has been based on the depletion of natural resources and the degradation of the environment – a kind of borrowing from the future, more invidious because the debts we owe are not so obvious. We are leaving future generations poorer as a result, but our GDP indicator doesn’t reflect this.”

Stiglitz, Joseph E. 2010. Freefall. America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. W.W. Norton and Company, New York.

Chapter 15
Governance, Science and the Ecosystem Approach The Ecosystem Approach in the Water Quality Agreement recommends recognition of ecosystem integrity, resilience and carrying capacity. More, not less , government is needed in these troubled times. Governments need more ingenuity, better management tools, and attention to research findings.

Chapter 16
Population, Economics and the Growth Imperative Although the laws of nature over-rule the laws of economics, we have business models which attempt the reverse. Mainstream economics ignores external costs, natural services, limits to growth. Economic redevelopment can have a win-win-win outcome for the economy, society and environment.

Chapter 17
Energy and Technology for the Future will determine the state of the Great Lakes environment. Many opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency, conservation and renewability. Governments must develop national and continental energy policies that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Chapter 18
Charting the Course to a Friendly-user Ecosystem. Prerequisites are democratic, knowledgeable governance, a new forthright economics and technology, all refocused along a sustainable trajectory. Evidence continues to show that the Great Lakes community has the ingenuity and organizational ability to care for the Great Lakes Ecosystem.