You may not have heard of doughnut economics, but it is the economic model that we must all shift to for survival in the 21st century. Kate Raworth wrote the book, Doughnut Economics, to explain that the 20th century economic paradigm of unlimited steady growth has resulted in the environmental problems we face today. Such a model assumes there are no limits to growth because there are no limits to finite resources.
As all agricultural producers know, nature follows a sigmoid curve. Growth starts slowly followed by rapid growth of a plant or animal with eventual slowing of that growth. Ultimately, the organism dies and is recycled through decomposition and the process starts over. Raworth references that sigmoid curve and notes that economics follows that trajectory because of the natural systems upon which economics depends also follows a sigmoid curve. Thus, if we are to truly make the transition to a sustainable economy, we need to be aware that humans also need to pay attention to the natural laws and understand how to more effectively engage these finite resources such that we work toward a regenerative economy to live within our means.
The phrase “doughnut economics” comes from the visual of two concentric circles. The inner circle represents the human needs that a functioning economy must stay above to address to create a “safe and just space for humanity through a regenerative and distributive economy.” If we fall below that line, we have numerous social issues that arise like shortfalls of housing, food, gender equality, peace and justice, education, and work.
The outer circle represents the ecological ceiling which we must effectively manage below so that we don’t create environmental challenges such as air and water pollution, biodiversity loss (read poor soil health), loss of agricultural land through development and issues of desertification/land degradation, ocean acidification, and climate change.
It’s not rocket science, yet we see that the economy we are currently operating in has, for the most part, ignored these parameters and we are seeing these consequences occurring. And, these consequences then have a negative impact for the current economy and certainly for generations to come.
But Holistic Management offers a way forward with keeping the triple bottom line in mind so that we can effectively develop that regenerative economy and function between the inner and outer circle of the doughnut. I thought that Raworth’s image of the doughnut is a good one to help people get the the “rules of the economic game” as they have always been. Because we have chosen to take from future generations, we have been able to fuel our illusion of unlimited growth. But, as agricultural producers and those attuned to nature, we all know that the chickens come home to roost. We must live within the laws of nature. As Gabe Brown says, “Nature always bats last.”
As a Holistic Management practitioner you are a leader in your community, a role model for others to see how a regenerative economy creates healthy land and thriving communities. As you share your practices and stories of others from around the world, we all gain a new vision of what we can create from a truly regenerative economy.
Click here to learn how Holistic Management is the regenerative solution.
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