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Is Time For Sustainability Economics

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Despite the general environmental crisis that we are facing, a common concern I keep hearing lately that some groups are concern about the cost of being sustainable. They worry that the investment could negatively affect their finances. While researching for ways to address this concern, I found the term “sustainability economics.” According to Stefan BaumgÄrtner (Department of Sustainability Sciences at the Leuphana University of Luneburg) and Martin Quaas (Department of Economics at the University of Kiel), sustainability is looking to achieve justice in the human-nature-relationship. Such justice should prioritize environmental stability, both intergenerationally and intragenerational. On the other hand, economics relates to searching for an institution that works toward an ever better satisfaction of human needs and wants (Baumgärtner & Quaas).

By combining both terms, we can assess that the definition of Sustainability Economics is rooted in the idea of efficiency. Using every resource, we have to satisfy human needs while ensuring justice for the present and future generations. Both terms should be balanced, but society focuses more on the economic aspect because it affects them more directly. Since our environment’s change is gradual, it is understandable that some may believe we have time to fix it later, but we are running out of time. In 2017, the General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces (Ecuador) stated that we have 11 years to prevent irreversible damage to our world (United Nations). It is on the noise the increase in rate and intensity of natural disasters, and I could write more on how our planet is suffering, but the point is that we do not have more time. Our society has invested in economics over sustainability disproportionally, and the cost of bringing back such balance is necessary. This investment is what can ensure that the communities and their descendants can enjoy the economy long-term.


“Baumgärtner, Stefan; Quaas, Martin (2009) : What is sustainability economics?, Working Paper Series in Economics, No. 138, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Lüneburg”

“Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change, Speakers Warn during General Assembly High-Level Meeting | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases.” United Nations, United Nations, 28 Mar. 2019,

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