Does the Nobel Economics Prize promote the economic thinking we need to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

This post is provided by OPEN Fellow, Henry Leveson-Gower, who is Founder and CEO of Promoting Economic Pluralism, a growing movement of progressive, pluralist economists from across academia, government, industry and civil society, campaigning for fresh economic thinking for the 21st century.


Dear OPEN colleagues,

In October, the Nobel Prize in Economics will celebrate its 50th anniversary. At Promoting Economic Pluralism, we have joined forces with a fantastic group of organisations to use this milestone to highlight the need for new economic thinking for the 21st century – and would really value you and your organisation’s support in doing this. You can see more about why, how and with whom we are doing this on our website here.


We would really appreciate your support to get as many people as possible engaged in this campaign through both the debate on the legitimacy of the Nobel Economics Prize and finding fresh economics for the 21st century. This could be through various means:

  • RT-ing and sharing our campaign posts with #NotTheNobel sent from @themintmag and Promoting Economic Pluralism on Facebook
  • Putting an item in your newsletter (if you have one) – we can provide a paragraph with a link to our website
  • Holding an event on these issues, particularly on 3rd October at 7pm UK time, when we will be live-streaming our final event and selecting our leading new economic thinkers/doers

To generate interest in the ‘Not The Nobel’ project, we will be producing a series of blogs, a video, social media content and other products so there should be lots of stuff to share and link up with.

I would really appreciate any help you can give to use this opportunity to get more people engaged with the need to change our economic system to get off the disastrous path that we seem to be on.

It would also be great if you could join one of our launch webinars at 9.00am and 6.00pm UK time on Monday 2nd September (sign up here), when we are going to:

  • Start a debate with invited panellists on whether economics should have a Nobel Prize linked with it; and
  • Open our online platform on which anyone can nominate, discuss and vote on who they think are providing the economic thinking and action we need to meet the challenges of the 21st century

If you’re interest in being part of the ‘Not The Nobel’ project – or can support in any way – please email me ( or our Programme Director, Nat Dyer (, letting us know how you think you can help.

Many thanks,



Henry Leveson-Gower FRSA

Founder and CEO, Promoting Economic Pluralism


Songs of Hope For The Planet

by Tony Cooke, CEO, One Planet Education Networks

Here’s a little something uplifting for the weekend. Recently, I had the great pleasure of being in the audience for TEDxExeter and got to see Chris and Harry, fresh from the Edinburgh Festival, perform a couple of ‘Songs of Hope For The Planet’. They’re now available on video here. Enjoy!…

The New Political Story That Could Change Everything

To get out of the mess we’re in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation.

This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future. It was given at the recent TED Summit in Edinburgh, a global gathering of 1,000 TED Speakers, TED Fellows, TED Translators, TED-ED volunteers and TEDx organisers. OPEN CEO Tony Cooke was there in person in his capacity as a TEDx organiser.

It will resonate well with those in the OPEN Community who are focused on pluralist economics, on post-neoliberalism or humanistic management. It will also be of interest to anyone researching the power of narratives, i.e. the stories we tell ourselves, and how they drive our behaviour.

About George Monbiot

As a young man, George Monbiot spent six years working as an investigative journalist in West Papua, Brazil and East Africa, during which time he was shot at, shipwrecked, beaten up, stung into a poisoned coma by hornets, became lost for days in a rainforest (where he ate rats and insects to avert starvation) and (incorrectly) pronounced clinically dead in a hospital in northern Kenya. Today, he leads a less adventurous life as an author, columnist for the Guardian and environmental campaigner.

Among his books and projects are Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human LifeThe Age of Consent; and Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning. His latest book is Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. He has made a number of viral videos. One of them, “How Wolves Change Rivers,” based on an extract from his last TED Talk, has been watched 40 million times on YouTube.

Scotland’s First Minister speaks out on Wellbeing Economy in new TED Talk

In 2018, Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) to challenge the acceptance of GDP as the ultimate measure of a country’s success. In this visionary talk, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon explains the far-reaching implications of a “well-being economy” — which places factors like equal pay, childcare, mental health and access to green space at its heart — and shows how this new focus could help build resolve to confront global challenges.

This new TED Talk from Nicola Sturgeon was given at the recent TED Summit in Edinburgh, the global gathering of the TED community of TED Speakers, TED Fellows, TED-ED community, TED Translators and TEDx organisers. OPEN CEO Tony Cooke was there in person in his capacity as a TEDx organiser.

In November 2014, Nicola Sturgeon was elected as the first female leader of the Scottish National Party. Days later, she was sworn in as the country’s first woman First Minister. Soon after her election, she appointed a cabinet boasting a 50/50 gender balance.

As head of the Scottish government, Sturgeon is responsible for her administration’s policies and for promoting and representing Scotland both at home and overseas.

Sturgeon entered the Scottish Parliament as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 1999. She is currently MSP for Glasgow Southside. Sturgeon served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing between 2007 and 2012, and then Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities until November 2014. Throughout this period she also served as Deputy First Minister of Scotland.

Earth Overshoot Day 29 July 2019

A couple of days ago on 29 July was 2019’s Earth Overshoot Day, marking the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.


To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year:

(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day


Measuring Ecological Wealth

Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures a population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supply of resources and services. These calculations then serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.

On the supply side, a city, state, or nation’s biocapacity represents its biologically productive land and sea area, including forest lands, grazing lands, cropland, fishing grounds, and built-up land.

On the demand side, the Ecological Footprintmeasures a population’s demand for plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure, and forest to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

Both measures are expressed in global hectares—globally comparable, standardized hectares with world average productivity. A hectare is equivalent to 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres

Each city, state or nation’s Ecological Footprint can be compared to its biocapacity. If a population’s demand for ecological assets exceeds the supply, that region runs an ecological deficit. A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


At the global level, ecological deficit and overshoot are the same, since there is no net import of resources to the planet.


The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign. At that time, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.

2019 Global Gathering of PRME Community

This post was first published on Jonkoping University’s website. 


2019 Global Gathering of PRME Community

RMER – Responsible Management Education Research

Multistakeholder Engagement for Agenda 2030

30 September – 3 October 2019

Hosted by Jönköping International Business School

Sponsored by Jönköping International Business School and the Municipality of Jönköping

Take advantage of our early bird registration fee.opens in new window

Early bird fee until 31 July: 3550 SEK
Regular fee from 1 August until 30 August: 3950 SEK
Late fee 31 August – 22 September: 4450 SEK

Following the success of the RME Research Conference last year in Germany and previously in Brazil, Switzerland and Egypt,

The 6th RMER Conference hosted by Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) is a forum intended to engage the PRME community and other stakeholders in a dialogue around Agenda 2030 and enhance further collaborations in education, research and business practices to advance the SDGs.

The conference will address the following questions:

  • Who are the stakeholders and how to embrace their diversity?
  • What types of leverages do they have?
  • How can collaborations be encouraged?
  • What are the inspiring stories?
  • How to educate towards multi-stakeholder collaboration?
  • How to help our students engage with other disciplines, other individuals and organizations towards achieving Agenda 2030 and beyond?

An exciting program will include prominent keynote speakers such as:

  • Rob Van Tulder, Professor of International Business-Society Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
  • Stef Van Dongen, Chairman of Nexus Europe and Founder of the social enterprise Enviu.

Thematic panels and roundtables on multi-stakeholder engagement for Agenda 2030, student posters, field visits, start-ups and other forms of interactive exchanges will be organized and proposals for sessions are welcome!

Send your abstractopens in new window. A Special Issue will be published by Journal of Business Ethicsexternal link, opens in new windowon Multistakeholder Engagement. Please notify your interest to be considered for the special issue on the cover page (deadline March 2020).

The event will be carbon compensated. Click here for more information.

The conference will be held in conjunction with the 7th PRME Chapter DACH Annual Meeting, PRME Nordic Chapter Meeting and Jönköping University Agenda 2030 Day, to which conference participants are invited to contribute.

Call for Papers



Jönköping University



Content updated 2019-07-03

Coping with Eco-Anxiety: A light in the Darkness


Dr Jan Maskell considers eco-anxiety within the sustainability profession, and how we can build up our resilience to feelings of environmental doom.

We all feel anxiety – we have evolved to feel it in response to dangerous situations, as it helps guide us to safety. However, anxiety becomes serious when it overwhelms us, leading to distress, anxiety disorders or depression.

As sustainability professionals, we are aware of the implications of climate change. Not only do we have to deal with our own psychological responses, we may also have to deal with resistance at work to what we are trying to achieve. The American Psychological Association’s 2017 report on the impact of climate change on mental health describes eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental doom”. This can express itself in feelings of grief, loss, rage, despair, guilt or shame.

Climate change is a pernicious problem due to its unique character and interconnection with other issues, and this affects our psychological response to it. For some, the issue remains an abstract threat – which means people think it is more likely to affect other people, in other places, in the distant future.

“Part of our role is to continue to be constructive – and to encourage others to do so”

Many cognitive biases make climate change seem less important – including:

  •  Discounting future risks and rewards
  •  Optimism bias about our ability to mitigate potential harm
  •  Justifying the status quo
  •  Affective forecasting errors that lead us to assume the future will generally resemble the present.

The ‘blamelessness of unintentional action’ means that, in the absence of a clear villain, there is no one to blame but ourselves. This can trigger a range of defensive reactions. Social media is increasing judgement for actions such as eating meat, flying or failing to recycle. Increased awareness of what we should be doing, thinking that this is having little or no impact, and concern about the future can lead us to feel frustrated.

Part of our role as professionals is to continue to be constructive – and to encourage others to do so. The impacts on our mental health of trying to remain positive can be far reaching in terms of stress, anxiety and depression.

The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’, and has outlined six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly:

  •  Inability to cope with the demands of your job
  •  Inability to control the way you do your work
  •  Not getting enough information or support
  •  Having trouble with relationships at work
  •  Lack of clarity regarding role and responsibilities
  •  Not being fully engaged with workplace change.

All of these apply as much to sustainability professionals as they do to any other role. However, the potential for anxiety about climate change is a stress multiplier for those working in our sector. Issues around support, relationships, control and change implementation can be key factors. Are we supported by stakeholders in our organisations? Do we have good work relationships? How much can we control in our roles? How able are we to implement effective, long-lasting change? If we experience the extremes of inability to function – not being able to eat, sleep or work – then we should seek professional help.


What can we do?

Many organisations are implementing mental health plans and employee assistance programmes to ensure workers thrive. Employers should assess risks to employees’ health; for those whose work involves tackling climate change, this includes consideration of the six HSE factors previously noted. The HSE’s Management Standards may also help to identify and address health risks. Individual action plans can be developed for employees who are suffering from stress. The earlier a problem is tackled, the less impact it will ultimately have.

There are many things we can do to boost our resilience. The work of Fred Luthans considers the role of positive psychological capital, focusing on hope, resilience and optimism. How do we remain hopeful, resilient and optimistic
in the face of climate chaos?

Hope is defined by Luthans as “a positive motivational state” that is based on goals – directing our energy towards achieving those goals. Practical approaches for developing hope include setting ‘stretch’ goals. What meaningful and stretching goals do you have at work? You may have organisational goals, but do you set yourself goals in your personal life?

Resilience – the capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity, conflict and failure, or even positive events, progress, and increased responsibility – can also be developed. When experiencing difficulty, people turn to those they are close to for emotional support. Consider your social networks – who is there to support you? More importantly, how can you cultivate and maintain strong social connections? Connectedness to others is a psychological need and a foundation for wellbeing and protection against eco-anxiety.

Individual mental health is better where there is strong social cohesion. Within organisations, sustainability professionals can encourage this by bringing people together to discuss and agree actions. Talking therapies are beneficial for finding solutions to personal problems, so enabling conversations and discussing the co-benefits of pro-environmental behaviour helps to spread knowledge, facilitate change and bring about social cohesion.

Barbara Fredrickson proposes that experiencing a large number and variety of positive emotions makes us more capable of ‘broadening and building’ ourselves into more optimistic and resilient individuals. We can become more aware of what makes us feel good by focusing on appreciation of what we have, what we do well and what makes us proud. Appreciation of others and showing genuine gratitude also helps us to develop these aspects.

We can also promote a more optimistic approach by differentiating between things we have control over and things we do not. Why try to change something that is beyond your ability, when there are things you can do? People have claimed that joining a group, such as a zero waste group, has made a positive difference to their wellbeing through the sense of belonging and achievement it offers. Examples of sharing through car clubs, lift shares or ‘maker spaces’ also offer social benefits, as well as economic and environmental ones.

Setting a responsible example

As sustainability professionals, we should be responsible examples for others, signalling the desirability of sustainable norms, communicating to others the value of pro-environmental behaviours and highlighting situations where people are acting sustainably.

Frame solutions in terms of what can be gained. People prefer winning to losing, so options should be presented in terms of benefits. This includes more than physical health and economic growth, ideally emphasising the interpersonal and social benefits of climate action.

Strategies for tackling eco-anxiety

  •  Set yourself challenging goals – personal and professional – to increase your hopefulness, engagement and achievement
  •  Develop social networks as support and enable conversations about climate change to develop social cohesion
  •  Appreciation of what you have, and of others, increases positive emotions
  •  Focus on what you can do and what you can influence, rather than what you can’t do
  •  Join (or start) a group of like-minded people
  •  Share more.


Dr Jan Maskell, PIEMA CPsychol is an occupational psychologist