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phasing down

Ecologic Foundation

The Ecologic Foundation (Ecologic Foundation Incorporated, also referred to as Ecologic) is an independent not-for-profit Think Tank based in Nelson, New Zealand focused on environmental policy research and analysis, consultancy and advocacy. Its Executive Director is Guy Salmon who has been involved with the organisation in its various forms since the 1970s. Ecologic publishes a quarterly journal Ecologic which previously appeared under the title Maruia Pacific.

History

Ecologic had its beginnings in the early days of the native forest conservation movement in New Zealand. In the early 1970s the Beech Forest Action Committee - a grassroots group in Auckland to protest against native forest logging - was formed. In 1975 a series of forest campaign groups joined together under the banner of the Native Forest Action Council (NFAC), with the Maruia Declaration as its manifesto.

The NFAC was the spearhead of native forest campaigns for twelve years. It contributed to an end to logging of indigenous State forests in the North Island; the signing of the West Coast Forests Accord, providing for preservation of wide areas and a phasing-down of wood harvest to a small-scale, sustainable yield on the West Coast; the abolition of the Forest Service, and the creation of the Department of Conservation; and extensive additions to the national park and reserve system.

In 1988 the organisation broadened to address a wider range of environmental concerns. To facilitate this, NFAC changed its name to become the Maruia Society. Over the decade that followed, the Maruia Society played a major role in the development of, and later review of, the Resource Management Act 1991, developed a programme of conservation work in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, and played a significant role in the development of the government’s policies on climate change, forestry, energy, transport and overseas development assistance. It also worked on the greening of leading businesses in the food, fishing, forestry, waste management, chemical, energy and building industries.

In 1999, the Maruia Society evolved into the Ecologic Foundation, adopting a new name and mission. Its focus is now on research, consultancy and advocacy, with expertise in market-based instruments and Collaborative governance, following its research project funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology on these issues between 2003 and 2007.

Philosophy

Ecologic believes that all pathways to sustainability must respect and harmonise three sets of principles - those concerned with Ecology, Economy, and Ethics - the three Es of sustainability. Sustainable progress can be claimed when measures of economic, ecological and ethical well-being are all improving together - and not otherwise.

Ecological well-being is thought to arise when people live in harmony with nature, and safeguard the interests of future generations, by sustaining fundamental natural processes over time. It is based on a respectful relationship with nature. This philosophy supports the careful use of natural resources for human benefit, but requires the avoidance of undue risk to ecosystems and their components, including humans.

Economic well-being is thought to be vital to enable fulfilment, opportunity, and freedom. Ecologic embraces the potentially positive roles of technology, innovation, economic growth and globalisation and seeks practical, enduring and least-cost solutions to the problems and challenges of the development process.

Ethical well-being is thought to be a characteristic of a society which affirms and develops the highest human qualities. A contemporary understanding of the character of an ethical society is one that shows and fosters respect for all people, considering their needs, values and interests; which cultivates mutuality, civility, personal integrity, openness, good faith, cultural expression, and respect for science and reason; and which links freedom with responsibility to others.

Political orientation

Ecologic is an independent organisation and not affiliated to any political party. However, politically the organisation is regarded by some as to the right of the mainstream of environmental groups in New Zealand due to its focus on market oriented policies and its links to the National Party in New Zealand. For instance, Guy Salmon, the Executive Director, was a candidate for the National Party at the 2002 elections and was formerly part of the Progressive Green Party (New Zealand).

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