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Although actions are divided into three categories, consider examining the entire list because suitability of the actions overlaps. 

Actions for all

Actions for academics (students, researchers, instructors)

Actions for advocates, entrepreneurs, and policy makers in government

Actions for all:

1.     Enhance appreciation for nature as our life support system through

a.   experiences of nature, such as observing nature, planting native vegetation, vegetable gardening, and walking and playing in wilderness, and

b.   developing mindfulness about the importance of ecosystem services (examples: nature’s maintenance of our air, water, soil, aquifers and food supply) to our well-being, including with reading, discussing and daydreaming.

2.      Develop awareness of the excessiveness in the scale of economic activity. Appreciate that the Gross National Product (which supposedly accounts for national well being) basically only adds, hence counting bads as goods (e.g., expenditures that result from preventable accidents and illnesses, theft, oil spills, and depletion of ecosystem services). Preferable to the GNP are analyses that register both costs and benefits, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (

However, the GPI does not account for the Earth’s carrying capacity or limits, so take the Ecological Footprint Quiz (

3.      Endorse the Position on Economic Growth ( 

4.      Encourage organizations to endorse steady-state economics (

5.      Engage interested people on ecological economics, including with discussion groups, blogs, listservs, presentations, bulletin boards, newsletters and websites.

6.       Create an e-mail signature, such as the following:

                     Fred Jones

Please endorse a steady-state economy at, and see

7.        Live towards sustainability.

8.       Engage a speaker ( to give a presentation.

Actions for academics:

9.      Distinguish ecological economics from neoclassical economics (as well as its sub-disciplines environmental economics and resource economics). With the paradigm of ecological economics the global ecosystem is the larger system and economics is a subsystem, instead of vice versa ( TwoWorldViews.htm).

10.   Study ecological economics. If necessary, persuade an instructor to offer a course, perhaps as independent study. An alternative is to study ecological economics at another school for transfer of the credit; confirm in writing with your main school that the credit would transfer suitably, whether as an elective or requirement. For an opportunity to take a graduate course through distance learning see

11.   Integrate ecological economics into curriculum by applying the subject’s insights, including in schools’ environments, and at least as a presentation or an assignment. Ecological economics is transdisciplinary, so a diversity of content areas can implement ecological economics. (See Resources – Education & research.)

12.    Ask your professors what they think about ecological economics, true cost markets, post-autistic economics and the deficiencies of neoclassical economics. Be ready with rebuttals in case their answers are unsatisfactory.

13.   Get a group together to hold regular discussions about the problems with contemporary economics. Once you’re ready to take it to the next level, chart a course of action.

14.    If your school doesn’t offer classes in Ecological Economics, initiate a campaign to demand such a course be introduced. Contact the International Society for Ecological Economics to bring a guest lecturer to campus.

(Actions #12 through 14 are from True Cost Economics. Have quality conversations by being informed on the content, knowing the backgrounds of people with whom you engage, exploring common values, and willing to concede that you do not know or could be wrong.)

15.   Use the resources at Resources – Education & research and Volunteers.

Actions for advocates, entrepreneurs, and policy makers in government:

16.    Write letters to editors and pertinent listservs. See models at and

17.    Extend the precautionary principle beyond policies on chemicals and technology to economics. See Vocabulary – Precautionary principle.

18.    Organize your efforts around a statement. One option is the Position on Economic Growth ( True Cost Economics’ manifesto might backfire due to its hostile content.

19.    Adapt your organization’s language and ideology for consistency with ecological economics. For example, remove language that favors so called “smart growth” and “sustainable growth.” Also, be clear about the meaning of “sustainable development.” In ecological economics “sustainable development” entails economic activity that is improvement without growth in physical scale; ultimately, genuine sustainable development is progress toward a steady-state economy. See Vocabulary for more on language.

20.    Use rhetoric as a springboard to a sustainable paradigm or vision. Concise rhetoric keeps people’s attention. See Examples of Concise Statements.

21.    Use bridge words and phrases to engage people of disparate worldviews. The following words and phrases in bold can be useful: sustainability, strong and healthy economy, renewable, stewardship, sustainable and desirable future, future generations, freedom, sustainability, big picture, responsibly, family, home, life, happiness, liberty, compassion, health, big picture, responsible, responsibly and civil society.

22.    Besides use of concision for a rhetorical springboard, of course there is elaboration. Consider the below example.

In promoting a project, perhaps some reforestation, one way to exercise elaboration would be to post signs and a website that explain 1) the project’s local and global benefits in this milieu of uneconomic growth, 2) the importance of a shift to a steady-state economy (or ecological economics), and 3) any significant shortcomings that get in the way of a paradigm shift.

23.    Build alliances that help promote ecological economics. As necessary, stretch missions to facilitate collaboration on common themes. See Strategy.

24.    Strategically promote (in selection of audience, medium and message) awareness of successes in ecological economics and the importance of a paradigm shift. See Ecological Economics: A Workbook for Problem-Based Learning (

25.    Do a nature restoration project, and evaluate it for the local and global benefits. Of course promote awareness of these benefits and the importance of a paradigm shift. Again see Ecological Economics: A Workbook for Problem-Based Learning.

26.    Assess a geographic location (be it by biological, physical, social, or political boundaries) with sustainability indicators. Use indicators that heavily emphasize the impact of the ecological footprint on the Earth’s carrying capacity, and the value of ecosystem services (both global and local). Also, desirability can be evaluated for within the context of these indicators on sustainability. Definitely use the project to promote a tipping point or paradigm shift, perhaps even through legislation.

27.    Educate the public and legislators on budgetary priorities that advance a steady-state economy. Aspects of prioritization can include the following: 1) elimination of harmful subsidies and purchases (Clearly this includes the perks for businesses in the timber, fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries.), 2) reduction in other expenditures that do harm, including paper, water and electricity, 3) taxing those individuals and businesses that harm the local and global ecosystems, 4) subsidizing those individuals and businesses that benefit the environment, 5) purchases, such as a. land for environmental protection and restoration, and b. recycled paper that was not bleached with chlorine. (These five approaches seem unreliable and are probably insufficient, perhaps even as a conglomeration, so weigh their usefulness as parts of a process – instead of as ultimate results.)

28.    Promote effective regulation by governments. Many approaches, including those noted in the above action, are unreliable and probably insufficient, perhaps even as a conglomeration. On the other hand, stability might be found by nipping the problem in the bud with Daly and Farley’s propositions to emphasize direct control over 1) the amount of resources allowed to be extracted in a given period of time, and over 2) pollution that is not stopped by regulating extraction. (Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications, 366.) (By the way, convention demands dominance by free markets, but economic growth is a problem (and was a problem in the Soviet Union), so within ecological economics the place for markets is in the context of steady-state economy and just distribution of resources.)

(Keep up on the progress made regarding indicators, budgets, and effective regulation by government. Actions #26-28 can facilitate vision and creativity in getting to sustainability. Perhaps these proposed actions can be applied on a small scale to work out any possible kinks; the successes might be useful as compelling springboards to advocating for a paradigm shift.)

29.   Promote Wendell Berry’s concept of businesses putting up a performance bond, based on community's’ environmental and social standards.

30.   Operate a summer program for youths that practices and promotes ecological economics.

31.   Operate an ecovillage that facilitates mindful living within the Earth’s carrying capacity, and use it as a springboard to promote ecological economics.

32.   Persuasively present to the public information on important concepts in ecological economics, including the commons, Earth’s carrying capacity, throughput, ecological footprint and sustainable development.

33.    For generating more actions see Resources and Calendars, Ecological Economics: A Workbook for Problem-Based Learning ( and

34.       Volunteer to work with Campaign for Sustainable Economics.

Examples of Concise Statements

The below two sets of statements go with action #20 on using concise statements for effective rhetoric. They are useful for both written and verbal communications. The words in bold are potentially useful bridge words for communication with people of disparate perspectives.

For hesitant audiences it is especially important to use statements that bridge with common values; consider the following:

-         My number one concern is for the environment because it is our life support system.

-         This proposal is unthinkable [or This proposal is a compromise] given the serious damage already inflicted on our life support system, the Earth. Actually we need more ecosystem services for sustainability [or for a strong and healthy economy].

-         Just as an astronaut in outer space would not burn the spaceship’s  exterior walls to make it run, we must do no serious harm to the Earth, which is our life support system. Moreover, given the serious damage already done, we must strengthen our vital ecosystem services. (Kenneth Boulding used a metaphor of the Earth as a spaceship to illustrate the Earth as a closed system.) 

-         Just as a good astronaut monitors its spaceship’s levels of pollution, air, water and food, we must be assured of a quality environment with ample resources, including for future generations.

-         We need more biological resources, including native forests, so that they are actually renewable.

-         For me stewardship means firstly managing ourselves and secondly managing nature so that there are ample resources for communities to be both and sustainable and desirable for an indefinite number of future generations. (Robert Costanza promotes a desirable and sustainable future.)

-         Freedom fundamentally depends on a well functioning life support system, namely the Earth. Thus, we must learn a lesson on sustainability from the liquidation of woods on Easter Island that apparently led to the collapse of its society. 

-         Conservation of natural resources is a fundamental conservative value.

For very receptive audiences consider adapting any of the following statements:

-         Economics is at the root of sustainability, but trying to improve our environment in the developed world with economic growth is like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on the flames. Thus, instead of growth in a planet that has its carrying capacity exceeded, we need a steady-state economy.

-         For centuries we have been treating the Earth like our slave [or dump] instead of as our nurturing parent [or home]. Our denial that we are a part of nature is prompting backlash [or collapse], such as the trend in increased intensity of hurricanes.

-         Our common vision of economics must shift to economics as a subsystem of ecology. To consider ecology as a subsystem of economics is a denial that economic activity has a fundamental dependence on the Earth.

-         The big picture of economics is about our NEEDED and LIMITED ecosystem services. Thus, instead of growth in physical scale that costs more than it benefits, we need a steady-state economy.

-         Economic growth in physical scale [or name a particular project with net harm] is unacceptable because it encroaches on our finite and dwindling ecosystem services.

-         Oddly the Gross National Product counts harm done to our finite NEEDED and LIMITED ecosystem services as an economic benefit. Consequently, policy makers endorse seriously harmful projects. Instead of a conventional worldview conducive to harm by its obedience to its tool (the GNP), we need a steady-state economy and just distribution of resources. In that context efficient markets can be operated responsibly.

Contact Information Please feel free to contact us at our post office box in Indianapolis or via email

Postal address

Campaign for Sustainable Economics
% Greg Buck

537 Fletcher Avenue #2
Indianapolis, Indiana 46203

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