As Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz makes clear, the current economic paradigm of a “rising tide” of prosperity and growth undermines the well-being of billions of people.
It also endangers societal stability and the survival of other species. The time has come to ditch the current economic paradigm, for one in which people and the planet actually matter.
We chart here an integrated economy based on the principles of the restoration, rather than the exploitation, of natural and human resources.
Economically and ecologically, investment in land, wetland and marine rehabilitation has powerful benefits. It can enable adaptation to climate change. It also increases opportunities for businesses and communities to solve problems cooperatively or with responsible competitiveness. It helps build ecological and social resilience.
South Africa boasts important pockets of innovation in these fields. The expanded public works initiatives to restore ecological functionality and biodiversity to catchments, wetlands, and fire-prone ecosystems are particular examples.