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Autoridad Portuaria de Ceuta

Future Environmental Challenges

The Economy as Part of an Environmental System

One of the most important topics for those committed to sustainable development is the creation of new economic concepts that include other factors that also contribute to human wellbeing and take into consideration the cost of the planet’s resources. According to JiménezHerrero  (a well-known expert in the economics of sustainability and the director of the Observatory on Sustainability in Spain), economic indicators like GDP do not take environmental factorsinto account and only measure the value of production in the market.New economic indices that assess the sustainability impact of actions on the environment (and historical heritage) are necessary since they would provide a more realistic overview of the economy with regard to the planet’s resources, which are undoubtedly what keeps man alive.

Therefore, the only way to understand the real impact of economic activities on the environment is by combining traditional economic accounting with environmental accounting. New economic accounting ideas are driving the transition toward a new economic concept, for example:

• The exhaustion of natural capital
• Environmental degradation
• Economic efficiency
• Basic indicator of economic sustainability, or
• Environmental balance indicators

In order to halt the most negative effects of developmentalism that are predominant in industrialised society, socio-economic systems and means of production must be urgently restructured, but most importantly, the economy must be given an environmental dimension. Once this considerable objective has been achieved it will be easier for other human systems (political, social, etc.) to play their part in global sustainability.JiménezHerrero (2000) analysed the many aspects of global sustainable development in this way. These are production systems and therefore, it is the economic system that should give way, adapt and understand that it is fed by an environmental system, which it duly exploits.