Social vs. Ecological Tradeoff


Dear all, I still have to study the book etc. in detail, yet I want the following already off my chest. The donut suggests that there is a tradeoff between social and ecological prosperity: one is somewhere on the donut, e.g. either around the social floor or the ecological ceiling. While this may often be the case, it is not necessarily so, and the score with respect to categories “within” and “around” the donut ought to be allowed to vary independently of their counterpart. I hope I find this to be the case upon further study, and else it is definitely something to take into account! Best,


Yes, I believe you are hinting towards an issue that I also tried to address, but in a different wording. See my article in which I elaborate on it:


You need to read the book as you seem to have fundamentally misunderstood the donut concept. Briefly, There is an inner Social Foundation boundary that ensures people/communities are getting things like adequate housing, healthcare, food, education,have their human rights protected, decent jobs, etc. As the word Foundation suggests, this is a necessary basis for creating the sustainable space who’s outer Ecological Ceiling boundary makes sure that we do not achieve the social goals by destroying the planet’s ecosystems by, for example, causing climate, destroying ecosystems like rainforests. polluting the seas.

So there cannot be a tradeoff between social and ecological goals - just that some of the former may require using different technologies like the use of green energy systems or behavioural changes like recycling more. Neither can there be exceptions where one is allowed to breach the Ecological Ceiling to meet a social goal. That doesn’t by the way preclude any economic development - e.g. to tackle poverty - but it does exclude economic growth as measured by GDP, where even activities that damage the environment or people’s health or enrich only the most wealthy.


Hi, you make some good points in your piece. The absence of locag government (and there’s no mention of supranational organisations like the EU, which are often the only bodies promoting action on climate change.) is a big weakness. But this was partly addressed some 20 years ago via Local Agenda 21 and, more recently via policy/service review processes like Equality, Environmental and Sustainability Assessments.

Re Mobility, I agree this is important - especially for people with disabilities… and should include visits to other regions if these can be achieved using green technologies. Uncontrolled flying to both shhort and long haul destinations isn’t, in my view, a social right. Especially leisure trips for a few days fto places like New York. Those should only be allowed if ticket prices reflect the environmental impacts of climate change, noise, A sole legitimate exception to long-haul flights might be ‘eco-tourism’ visits project that benefit a particular species or habitat and benefit the local communities.