Economy and ecology derived from oikos, which is the Greek word for home or household. Ecology is the science of the household. Economy is supposed to be the management of the household.
Aristotle referred to Oikonomia as the art of living and differentiated it from Chrematistics, the art of money making.
Today, economy has been reduced to the art of money making through the domination of a single indicator called growth. Ordinary households are being robbed of their homes, lives, and livelihoods under the rule of money and money making.
And now the economy that has been reduced to money making, would like to make more money for big economic interests by commodifying all of nature in the name of the green economy.
But if one stays with the answers offered in the old paradigm of market driven solutions, which have failed to protect the Earth, green economy will mean more of the same.
It will mean more carbon trading which has failed to reduce emissions. It will mean more commodification of food and water, land and biodiversity, which has failed to reduce hunger and thirst, poverty and degradation, and has instead increased them.
If one does not change the paradigm, institutions will continue with politics based on commodification, trade of the gifts of nature, and trade wars as global environment management, and that exact same institutions will further impoverish the Earth and further destroy democracy.
The World order built on the economic fundamentalism of greed, commodification of all life, and limitless growth, and the technological fundamentalist belief that there is a technological fix for every social and environmental problem are clearly collapsing.
Humanity stands at a cross road. One road continues on the path of eco-apartheid and eco-imperialism, of commodification of the Earth, her resources, and processes. And this path will intensify violence against the Earth and against people.
The second road is the path of making peace with the Earth, beginning with the recognition of the rights of Mother Earth. It is a path based on living within the Earth ecological limits and sharing her gifts equitably.
Money has been propelling ecological destruction.
Women of my region – peasant women – came out to say we will hug the trees. You will have to kill us before you kill the tree, because these trees are our life. They are our mothers. They give us water. They give us soil. They give us fuel.
Deforestation is leading to the disappearance of water, disappearance of energy, and ecological catastrophes like landslides.
Why were the trees being cut? Very simply, because cutting a tree makes money. Leaving a tree in place gives you stable ecosystems, gives you basic needs, gives you material welfare, avoids poverty.
But cutting a tree leads to huge profits for the logging companies and the countries count it as the growth of the gross domestic product. A live tree doesn’t contribute to the GDP. A killed tree does.
And that is the basis of why the more our economies grow, the more people suffer and the more the planet suffers.