1.2 Ecology and the economy

The words economy and ecology have the same ancient Greek root oikos which means ‘household’. The economy is all the human-made systems we use to transfer and transform energy and matter from nature to meet human needs and wants in the planetary 'household.'

Mainstream economics courses largely ignore the connection between our economies and nature. But without Earth's life support systems, there would be no economy to support human life. 

You can’t understand economic systems or how to improve them without a basic understanding of energy, matter and ecosystems. If we understand how human economic activities currently disrupt ecological processes, we may be able to design our economies to regenerate, rather than degenerate, Earth’s life-support systems.

At the end of Subtopic 1.2 Ecology and the economy, you should be able to: