Esther Duflo and Impact over Ideology

“Part of me always wanted to do something useful in the world. It came from my mother. She is a pediatrician and she was active in a small NGO for the child victims of war.”

--Esther Duflo, Economics Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Every year, over 300,000 deaths are attributable to climate change related issues. Even worse, the infiltration of pollutants and other negative, third-order effects of consumerism have impacted every facet of our ecosystem. From various levels of degradation in our air quality to temperature-related deaths or illnesses, every person on the planet is a shareholder in the success of our environment’s health and, certainly, we are all liable for various failures.

Given the loss of human life related directly to climate change, it is important to challenge the presumption that climate change is a future problem. Rather, it is a present problem. Therefore, an examination surrounding climate change and the way we live must not be confined to the academic realm. Instead, a radical approach on the issue that incorporates morality, philosophy, and pragmatism must establish a framework to provide a logical basis of why sustainable thinking ought to be promoted. Ideally, this framework shift will further efforts to preserve the sanctity of life of our precious planet and the lives of our fellow humans.

Sadly, climate change is far from easy to solve and is exacerbated by other, pressing social needs. Around the world, problems heavily impede the development of countries south of the equator. A lack of clean water, a distrust of preventative medicines in urban and rural settings, and inadequate supply chains that unevenly distribute ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in our societies are only a few issues that draw attention away from environmental economic inclusion. Furthermore, this, of course, does not include the religious conflicts and sectarian violent outbreaks that further entangle implementation of policy solutions devised by academic, public policy professionals, and subject matter experts.

Moving forward, the best approach to tackling complex crises is to favor impact over ideology through framing environmental and economic successes as contextual rather than generalizable. Whether grand universal theories exist to unite our understanding is not the intended purpose of this book -- instead, ideally, our readers will further an understanding of how to shift their personal habits towards sustainable development and internalize the importance of environmental economics. Hopefully, ideas will align, naturally, with solutions.