Carr’s Landing resident Cara Reed looks at property sale survey markings evident along the shoreline of Gable Beach. Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Carr’s Landing resident Cara Reed looks at property sale survey markings evident along the shoreline of Gable Beach. Image Credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Sustainable growth: Time to stop trashing environment

Regenerative capitalist Hunter Lovins offers economic insights at Kelowna conference

Sustaining our ecosystem in the face of climate change is a key cornerstone to preserving our global economy, says a leading proponent of the concept of regenerative capitalism.

Hunter Lovins, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions and worldwide advocate for sustainable economic development, said “the world is on the edge of ruin” unless global economic models developed over the last century are changed.

“There is no substitute for clean air. You can’t replicate it and we rely on preserving our ecosystem to provide it to us,” said Lovins, speaking at the Building SustainABLE Communities conference in Kelowna this week.

“Look around us. Coral reefs are dying, biodiversity is being lost, the Amazon basin is drying up, our oceans are turning acidic. We are seeing environmental impact from global warming that sees the earth’s temperature increase in the range of 1.3 to 1.4 degrees. If that increase reaches six degrees as some predict, what will happen then if we are seeing an impact already?”

Holding back the debate on these issues, at least in the U.S., is the fossil fuel political lobby, which spends $150 million to buy support from politicians and is heavily subsidized by governments to make gas cheaper than it looks, says Lovins.

“There is something wrong with an economic system that allows the richest eight people on the planet to have more accumulated wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion. That’s 3.5 billion people. We are eroding our economic health in a way our environment can’t continually sustain.”

Related: Play outside to appreciate nature

Lovins is an advocate for resource management sustainability, that industrial growth and jobs are not the sole value systems that equate to economic prosperity, that environment protection, quality of life, resource management and food production sustainability are important ingredients of an economy that deserve a value creditation.

She added companies that embrace environmental sustainability solutions show 18 per cent more revenue growth than other corporate “laggards” who try to deflect or ignore those concerns.

“Either we get together on this or we lose it,” Lovins said. “The economy should be there to benefit 100 per cent of the population, not just a small percentage.”

Kurt Schwabe, environment economics professor with the University of California, said countries are learning that by applying a value to environment degradation and the impact that has on its people, that some resource-based development projects become a net loss to society.

Logging a sensitive watershed, for example, falls short of the cost left behind to repair the ecological damage left behind, he says.

“The pollution costs and other environmental impacts often end up costing more than the short-term benefit,” he said.

John Janmaat, associate professor of economics at UBCO, said his exercise of applying environmental economics measurements to the proposed Gable Beach lakefront property sale reflects that discrepancy.

Janmaat said with calculated assumptions such as long-term replacement value, property value increases and increased population growth will increase demand for a lakefront beach, saying Lake Country would make a bad choice by selling the land.

Related: Gable Beach supporters meet with Lake Country officials

In Janmaat’s tabulations, selling it would mean an economic loss of $196,839.07, keeping it would create an economic benefit of $388,504.49. Conversely, if property values were to remain the same over the next 15 years, the number analytics for selling the property would shift to positive net gain of $452,018.90.

“In the latter case, there is a benefit to sell if you make the assumption that property values are not going to change over the next 15 years, but that is unlikely to hold true given the recent history of real estate value increases in the Okanagan,” Janmaat said.

“What I keep reading is councilors saying they made a promise to not raise taxes to pay for the CN Rail Trail during the (referendum campaign), and is looking at the beach property sale as a means to live up to that promise, but it’s a promise that (environment economics) shows is ultimately detrimental to the community in the long-term.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
UPDATE: 70-year-old man killed in workplace accident at Baldy Mountain

The mountain closed on Saturday but has partially re-opened today (Sunday)

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland affordable housing proposal opposed

“For a building that will change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion.”

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

Most Read