Ecological Economics 101: The Real Costs of Living

In the age of Covid-19, large cities have turned into giant prisons, with billions of people ‘stuck’ in their houses. The almighty economy that took ten years to recover from the last global crisis crumbled in a matter of weeks. And evident by fights over toilet paper in grocery stores, our societal fabric may be no more than a sheet of transparent saran-wrap after all. We must be asking ourselves by now how can we avoid this in the future? In this new series, we’ll explore how expensive our current ‘growth at all costs’ economic model is, starting with a basic ‘crash course’ in Ecological Economics and a lesson in the real costs of living.

I’ve been thinking about creating this series for a while now. I wanted to find ways to bring my perspective as an environmental scientist to other walks of my life. This includes my growing interest in economics, personal finance and, of course, this blog.

But until Covid-19 disrupted virtually everyone’s lives, costing societies trillions of dollars, many of these discussions still seemed abstract and esoteric. But with Covid-19 now firmly in the spotlight, it seems like a suitable time to highlight the costs of discounting the services provided by healthy ecosystems, often not understanding their full value until it is too late. The things we do – including the lifestyles we choose – all have an impact. All come at a cost – a cost to the taxpayer (financial capital), a cost to yours or your neighbours’ welfare (social capital) or a cost to the environment (natural capital).

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The Resolution 2019: Wrap-up

In 2018, I posted monthly about my spending tracking. After feeling like it had become too much the focus of my blog, I moved away from it in 2019, although I continued to track spending (along with virtually everything else quantifiable in my life as I do). But with 2019 having come to a close already, I figured I should at least share how my spending went, and how I hope to continue to make strides forward in 2020. Below is another instalment of The Resolution 2019: Wrap-up. Better late than never? I hope so.

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FIRE on a Rainy Day

A few weeks ago I was at home in Mexico for a late-season rain. I’ve been adding a new level and unit onto my small home in Baja California Sur. Although I expected the construction to be completed sometime in October, the finishing touches continued to drag on. This meant that with my two pre-existing units starting to be occupied by short-term renters for the ‘tourist season’, I was scrambling a bit for a place to stay. This was made all the more urgent by the forecast tropical storm set to fall during the days that I would be ‘homeless’. I reached out to a friend of mine who has a property nearby with four living quarters that he rents on Air BnB, and as it turned out he had some space during those days.

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Health Management is Wealth Management

This post contains affiliate links. I choose not to use ads on my website, but I will sometimes link to products I actually use or am interested in. If you also buy them, I will make a small commission.

Health care is a huge expense for many people around the world. Often, it stands in direct opposition of our aspirations for a free and fulfilling life. We would need to experience a GDP growth of 4.3% to offset the decline in happiness from a decrease in life expectancy of just one year. So it’s worth asking the question: if health is wealth, is health management wealth management?

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