New research shows that the world economy is growing far faster than the resources we use to produce that growth – known as the ‘ecological footprint’. This ‘decoupling’ of growth and environmental damage is a promising step, but we still have a lot of work to do to protect the environment, as we have pushed the planet past several ecological limits. The ideal is that we can get growth without increasing the ecological footprint at all – and ideally reducing it back within ecological limits.
This poses a challenge to New Zealand and its politicians – showing our Government that we can continue to grow while protecting the environment, particularly by promoting more sustainable, dense urbanisation, and through good Government policy. It also shows the Greens that economic growth isn’t necessarily the enemy.