Biopolicy—A Needed Vision for Profit: Meeting Economic, Environmental and Leadership Challenges
Building a Climate Resilient Economy
In view of growing climate risks, the global economy needs to consider major reforms to spark renewed growth and to advance both economic and climate goals together.
Climate variability is already a major source of insecurity, which could overshadow economic development in the years to come. Natural disasters inflict significant economic costs, with overall annual losses estimated between $US 250 billion and $US 300 billion.
Alongside warming temperatures, air pollution, extreme weather events, and changing patterns of rainfall and drought are posing diverse risks to the world’s economies. GHG emissions lead to an estimated 3.7 million premature deaths globally each year, with millions more suffering from respiratory illnesses, affecting overall welfare and quality of life. If left unmitigated, it is estimated that climate change will reduce global economic production, as well as per capita income, by as much as 23% by the year 2100. Low-income countries, which comprise about 11% of the world’s population, are characterized by a high reliance on agriculture and other primary sectors, which are profoundly affected by climate change.
Tackling the challenge of climate-smart and sustainable growth will require strong institutional capacity and radical shifts in investments and resource use. GDP, which mainly measures market transactions, served as a reliable signpost of progress for decades, but present social and environmental needs make it imperative to instate new primary policy goals and new ways of evaluating profit so as to build climate resilience and ensure development with a vision.
Changing Business Education
For this effort to succeed, business schools will have to start building climate focused fundamental capabilities and promote structural change. The over-consumerism mentality which has led humanity to a dead-end needs to be replaced by an educational perspective that prepares current and future business leaders and professionals to embrace climate change not as a mere question of responsibility but as pivotal to almost every aspect of a business operation. In this context, business schools need to embed climate-related courses into their curricula and build lasting relationships with thought leaders and decision makers for effective climate change adaptation strategies. The goals of business school education should shift from a focus on conventional business functions to a broader vision of skills and competencies, including the integration of the social dimensions of climate change, as well as a complete cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach.
Re-evaluating the Concept of Profit
A re-evaluation of the concept of profit is vital, in order to include parameters such as health, education, culture, international cooperation and guidelines for climate change mitigation, elements which constitute a genuine “profit” for society.
Biodiplomacy for the protection of bios—life—on our planet can inspire leaders to understand the value of cooperation in climate change mitigation and our interdependence with each other and with all forms of life as the true wealth of humanity. Furthermore, with the “bio-assessment of technology,” which the Biopolitics International Organisation (B.I.O.) has been proposing since 1985, society can benefit from the positive aspects of progress that respect and protect bios. With a thesis, antithesis and synthesis of new values, the bio-assessment of technology secures the life-supporting dimensions of technology that can mitigate climate change and ensure a brighter future.
The creative arts can provide the needed inspiration in this endeavor by becoming engaged in a new public narrative around bios as the basis of our existence. Focusing attention on the beauty, fragility and symmetry of the microcosmos – the world of cells and molecules – is vital in this context, as it can further mobilize creativity and vision. The cooperation of techne and technology in the appreciation of the microcosmos can position the arts as a driver for the enrichment of profit.
The Meta-capitalism Challenge
Time is of the essence, as the rapid destruction caused by climate change can only be mitigated by effective leadership and action. Since enormous wealth has accumulated in the hands of a few, often exceeding the combined worth of many nations, it becomes evident that we need to move to a meta-capitalism period. Multibillionaires could see this as a unique opportunity to take on a role of global responsibility by spearheading efforts that contribute to the common good. Meta-capitalism can be based on a newfound understanding and commitment to ensure the continuity of bios as a primary profit.
Existing systems encourage financial decisions based on their profitability. States and markets that have facilitated the greatest concentration and centralization of wealth in world history can launch an inspirational campaign urging voluntary participation in the funding of environmental policy and action, linking the economy to the continuity of bios and proving that this is the only “profitable” option. We have to encourage and inspire the affluent to make major donations for environmental education, urban greening and biodiversity, energy conservation, cleaning the oceans to increase their CO2 absorbing capacity, removing waste, intensifying the process of photosynthesis, tree planting, reforestation, and better health and wellbeing. Such donations can secure a sustainable economic vision and promote strategies that enhance productivity and employment and stimulate economic growth with long-term value. Acting with a sense of global responsibility can bring about the deep change required.
Biopolicy for Inspired Leadership
Reforms will entail costs and trade-offs, and will often require governments to deal with difficult problems of political economy, distribution and governance. But we only need to consider the infinite beauty and fragile nature of bios to draw strength and inspiration. The microcosmos is the world of cells and molecules. 1000000000000000000000 is the number of chemical reactions taking place in the human body during a twenty-four hour period. All the bank notes ever printed, all the literary compositions ever produced, do not reach this amazing wealth which each of us possesses—the joy of bios.
To shape tomorrow’s sustainable world, a life-supporting paradigm needs to be placed at the core of technology, policy and education, and to form the basis of thinking and action for every citizen. Biopolicy, with climate change mitigation at the heart of decision-making, can help to advance technological innovation for the benefit of the environment and shape the next generations of world changing leaders by building a vision of hope. The goal is to motivate every citizen to deepen our culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Investing in bios-supporting technologies can integrate the recovery of the world economy with efforts to limit climate change and reaffirm the positive link between climate resilient development and our survival on this planet. To be successful in this effort, we must draw inspiration from the miracle of life, as it is our ability to be inspired that will turn the tides and make a difference.
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