Get into the Doughnut…

Welcome to the very first blog on Doughnut Economics. I’ll be using this space to explore how to rethink economics and equity in the 21st century, through the lens of planetary boundaries and social boundaries – aka the Doughnut.

If you’re wondering, ‘Doughnut, what doughnut?’, then here’s a 4 minute video to give you the low-down.


And the more-than-four-minutes version?

In February 2012 I wrote a Discussion Paper for Oxfam, A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: can we live in the doughnut? It puts Johan Rockström’s concept of planetary boundaries together with the concept of social boundaries, to create a vision of a world in which every one has the resources to meet their human rights – while staying within the environmental limits of what this one planet can provide.

Here’s the blog I wrote to introduce the Doughnut back in February. Since then it has been picked up by commentators such as George Monbiot, Grist and the UN. It seems to have hit a spot within the environment-and-development community given that the search is on for a unified vision of what sustainable development could look like in the 21st century.

I’ll be presenting the doughnut in a number of debates at the UN’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development over the coming 10 days – but debating the doughnut goes far beyond Rio+20.

I’ll be blogging here on what I see as the three most interesting debates that the doughnut has stepped into (if doughnuts can indeed step).

1. Rethinking economic development. If planetary boundaries and social boundaries are the starting point, what are the implications for what economies should be aimed at? What’s the evidence that ‘green growth’ and technological solutions can or cannot get us there?

2. Who’s pressuring the planet? Humanity has transgressed at least three planetary boundaries – but where’s that pressure coming from? What’s the state of global inequality in using natural resources, within and between countries? And what are the implications for achieving equity in the Doughnut?

3. National doughnut analyses. What would happen if you took the doughnut concept and applied it at the country level? What would it look like for different countries, would it bring new perspectives, and could it help move forward national debates and policymaking on pathways for sustainable development?

I’ll be interviewing leading thinkers and commenting on new reports that shed light on these questions. And of course I look forward to the comments, insights, critiques and contacts that make ideas come alive through a blog. So if you have ideas about the implications of planetary and social boundaries, here’s the place to share them.

Go ahead, take the first bite…

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