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WWF-Panda's "Decoupled Growth" and other delusions...
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emal sent to WWF European Policy Office in Brussels, 21 October 2008

to: WWFEPO Tony Long
cc: mathis @ footprintnetwork . org,
Britt-Marie's eco list
date: Oct 21, 2008 4:55 PM
subject: IF... WWF-Panda's "Decoupled Growth" and other delusions...


"If the EU wants to be competitive, it is time to build a 'smart economy' that decouples economic growth from resource consumption," says the WWF's European Policy Office in Brussels.

This reflects the usual belief that economic growth - and development for that matter - could be "non-material", "immaterial, "different", "sustainable", "ecological", "green", "smart" or anything else but material.

WWF, together with their partners in the Compact of Business, Politics and the discipline of Economics, have understood preciously little of the material nature of this world, the finiteness of material resources, and the increasing speed with which we are approaching total resource depletion and collapse, BECAUSE of economic and population growth.

Growth is always material, whatever the theorizers may pretend. Since we have overshot we must reduce - not grow more. That's how simple it is.

All it takes is understanding material realities and then take the decision to stop growth.

Then we can sit together and elaborate the means to distribute what is left of the earth's once rich resources.

The average European would need three planets for all the natural resources we consume, WWF write.

"We are in serious ecological overshoot and Europeans rely on the rest of the world's resources to make up their increasing ecological deficit."

This is the Wackernagel message that is right and wrong at the same time (compare: - Footprints and Sustainability - A Glossary).

Correct is that we are in a serious overshoot situation, a "Peak-Everything" as Mr Wackernagel recently said (see: ).

False is that this overshoot could be counted in number of planets, because the natural resources are by no means only the living and regenerating resources of Wackernagel's "ecological footprint".

Correct is that we deplete both renewable and nonrenewable resourses and no number of non-existing further planets can compensate for depleted nonrenewables.

All taken together, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the globalised BPE Compact, IF humanity wants to survive we must forget the illusions of immaterial growth - "decoupling growth from resource use".

We have only one choice: reduce, reuse and recycle, yes, the old slogan, but still true.

We must reduce speeds and transportation, relocalize production and consumption and start living on a much lower technology level.

We must and we can be happy with less consumerables, without cars or motorized transportation and a host of products and services and amusements that are not really useful nor necessary but in part extremely environmentally destructive (Formula One racing, etc.).

Then do we have a chance to survive.

What do you say, dear WWF European Policy Office (Brussels) staff member?

Kind regards ... Helmut Lubbers

Helmut E Lubbers Ingénieur, MSocSc, DipEcol,
editor of and
ecology discovery foundation ecoglobe
Wellington New Zealand and Geneva Switzerland
14 bd Carl-Vogt 1205 Genève
+41 22 3212320 helmut at ecoglobe dot ch

Reference: WWF-Brussels - "Footprint"
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reference: what_we_do/wwf_europe_environment/initiatives/european_footprint_/index.cfm

The world's natural ecosystems are being degraded at an unprecedented rate in human history. WWF's Living Planet Report, the biennial statement on the state of the natural world, suggests that globally we are consuming 30% more than the planet can sustain in the long term and that on current projections humanity will be using two planets' worth of natural resources by 2050.
In fact, if everyone in the world consumed as many natural resources as the average European, we would already need three planets. The continent's ecological footprint is second only to North America's. We are in serious ecological overshoot and Europeans rely on the rest of the world's resources to make up their increasing ecological deficit.
It is time to make vital choices. Reducing European pressure on nature is essential for Europe's prosperity and its credibility as an international leader of sustainable development.
If the EU wants to be competitive, it is time to build a 'smart economy' that decouples economic growth from resource consumption. As energy consumption is a major source of the EU's Ecological footprint, a massive investment in energy efficiency measures is absolutely vital, not least to reduce dependence on volatile outside energy supplies.
Moving from a fossil fuel dependent economy to more renewable energy sources is another key for reducing the European environmental deficit.

WWF Switzerland's final screen of a lifestyle and footprint test
that tells people to reduce:

We interpret the jokers as the WWF policy makers who believe the economy must and can grow whilst consumption is being reduced by the general public. Really super-clever!

Translation of the image capture: "...each step towards a reduction of our consumption of the planet counts. So that you as a consumer are not standing alone, the WWF engages with politics and business to together achieve a yet more remarkable reduction of the resource consumption."