EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy provides a foundation for an analysis of environmental economics from the perspective of a theorist and a practitioner. The author, a fifth-generation farmer living in the USA with a background in economics, separates his book into three easy-to-read sections. Each section is filled with examples through which the reader can understand both the theory and the application of ecocommerce. By defining ecocommerce, as envisioned by the author, as a set of catalytic theories and activities unifying the worlds of economics and ecology, EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy makes a compelling yet simple argument that 21st Century wealth creation must be grounded in the reality of an ecologically sound natural resource management system proven through sound supply and demand modeling.
The first section is a primer on the economics’ framework and history needed to understand the basis of a payments for ecosystem services (PES) market. Through demonstrating ecocommerce with examples founded in economic theory from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman and others, the reader quickly begins to understand the value of natural capital through the framework of natural resources accounting with a supply and demand model. Concluding with a discussion of the US Farm Bill and its ecocommerce implications, the reader will have a broad understanding of the attributes of an ideal ecosystem services market.
The second section breaks down ecocommerce into components. With an introductory discussion of the role that ecologically-based indices will play in sustainable agro-systems management in the USA, the reader will begin to understand how these indices can send market signals regarding the ecologically accurate pricing of goods and services derived from sustainable natural resources management. Accompanied by a list of ecologically based indices such as the USDA Soil-and-Water-Eligibility Tool the reader will learn about the broad range of indices available today that can influence the construction of landscape-based natural resource accounting mechanisms. This section concludes with a demonstration of how these landscape-based natural resource accounting mechanisms can influence the construction of decision making tools within a portfolio management framework.
The third section analyzes ecocommerce through applied examples. Discussion includes an analysis of macro-ecocommerce, demand side micro-ecocommerce, and supply side micro-ecocommerce, followed up with a final chapter on ecocommerce integration.
Concluding with a call for a “second green revolution”, EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy provides a foundation from which it is hoped further knowledge and lessons learned can be developed. The only significant critique of this book is that it would benefit from more in-depth case studies demonstrating more fully the intention of the author. Finally,
EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy would be an excellent companion textbook along, with the book Accounting for Sustainability: Practical Insights, in an introductory advanced college level course on practical sustainable finance applications in the 21st Century.
How to order
EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy
Paperback, 428 pages, $27.70 at Amazon.com
Publisher: Bascom Hill Publishing Group, 2010
Author: Tim Gieseke
Gabriel Thoumi frequently contributes to Mongabay.com.