WWF is 50 years old. Woo hoo! And at their celebration in Zurich, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was in attendance and focused his remarks on how greed and consumerism are at the root of many of our planet's current environmental problems. Tutu said eloquently and starkly,
Our desire to consume everything of value, to extract every precious stone, every drop of oil and every creature from the sea knows no bounds. This quest for profit subverts our present and future. There are too many people who are getting better at exploiting the environmental heritage which belongs to us all. We are not heading for an environmental disaster, we have created one.
We are meant to live in a world which we share, and we are meant to live as members of one family; and yet, whenever we look around, isn't it devastating to see the inequities and levels of poverty? Our population is increasing, environmental degradation is increasing. how do we resolve these inequities when all we are told is growth, growth, growth?
Cue a huge part of the solution: Learning from the biosphere on how to build green economies, using more environmentally-aware ways of measuring economic activity than GDP, and moving towards a steady-state economy--which doesn't mean one where human development doesn't happen and economic activity ceases, only that economic activity isn't in excess of the carrying capacity of the planet and any increases in development don't come by increasing ecological throughput.