Gross domestic product (GDP) vs. Environmental Consciousness and Sustainability

With our move towards environmental consciousness and sustainability, shouldn’t we also be looking into redefining Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country?

GDP is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It is a representation of the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period –

With our move towards environmental consciousness and sustainability, shouldn’t we also redefine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country?

GDP is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific period – It also describes the economy’s size. GDP is usually expressed as a comparison to the previous quarter or year. For instance, if the year-to-year GDP is up 3%, it implies that the economy has grown by 3% over the last year. One way that it is calculated is by adding up what everyone spent in a country during that period.

On the other hand, our move to environmental consciousness and sustainability means reducing our carbon footprint. One of the primary ways to reduce our carbon footprint is by buying (shopping) less. Buying less implies less waste generation. It also means spending less.

Now, if a country spends less from one quarter to the next, does that mean that the country’s economy is unhealthy? Does that mean the country is getting poorer? Can we say for sure that developing nations are poor because their people do not spend as much?

Why are we spending money on environmental education, if all governments want, are for their people to spend more and more on things that they do not need?

We really should look into redefining GDP or coming up with a new term. Otherwise, environmental education is a waste of time.

Information on GDP was obtained from http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/199.asp

October 4, 2014. Contd:

How much people spend in a given period should not be the overriding measure of how well a country is doing. GDP calculations are not factoring in the cost of environmental degradation and its associated cost to the people’s health and well-being resulting from producing the goods and services purchased. Due to globalization, these goods and services are often not manufactured and sold in the same environment. It does not also factor in environmental degradation resulting from the disposal of these goods, which are sometimes even not disposed of where they are manufactured or sold.

When making decisions concerning sustainability, the focus should also include long term environmental and social benefits/losses and not just economic benefits/losses, which are always the primary focus.

GDP is usually expressed as a comparison to the previous quarter or year. For instance, if the year-to-year GDP is up 3%, this is understood to mean that the economy has grown by 3% over the last year. One of the ways that it is calculated is by adding up what everyone spent in a country during that period.

On the other hand, our move to environmental consciousness and sustainability means reducing our carbon foot-print. One of the basic ways that we can reduce our carbon foot print is by buying (shopping) less. Buying less implies less waste generation. It also implies spending less.

Now, if a country spends less from one quarter to the next, does that mean that the country’s economy is unhealthy? Does that mean the country is getting poorer? Can we say for sure that developing nations are poor because its people do not spend as much?

Why are we spending money on environmental education, if all governments want, are for their people to spend more and more on things that they do not need?

We really should look into redefining GDP or coming up with a new term otherwise environmental education is a waste of time.

Information on GDP was obtained from http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/199.asp

October 4, 2014.. Contd:

How much people spend in a given period should not be the overriding measure of how well a country is doing. GDP does not factor in the cost of environmental degradation resulting from the production of the goods and services being purchased. Most times, these goods and services are not manufactured/produced in the same environment they are purchased. It doesn’t also factor in environmental degradation resulting from the disposal of these goods, which are sometimes also not disposed were they are used.

When making decisions concerning sustainability, focus should also include long term environmental and social benefits/loses and not just economic benefits/loses, which are always the primary focus.

 

Obie Agusiegbe
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