Turning the Doughnut from Vision to Reality in Wales – the Case of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park

University essay from

Abstract: The world is simultaneously facing social and environmental sustainability issues. There is a decreasing window of opportunity to limit global warming in accordance with the Paris Agreement, significant biodiversity loss, and mounting inequality. This raises questions about our current economic systems’ ability to tackle the problems, which has given rise to new economic approaches. One such approach is Doughnut Economics which functions as a compass for a safe and just space for humanity and prescribes seven shifts in economic thinking for getting there. Given the urgency to identify and implement solutions to current sustainability issues, it is paramount to gain an understanding of Doughnut Economics' transformative potential by engaging with examples where the approach is used. To build on the knowledge of Doughnut Economics' transformative potential, this thesis investigates the case of Bannau Brycheiniog in Wales through the lens of the three spheres of transformation: the practical, political, and personal. The methods employed were semistructured interviews with a purposive and snowball sampling method. Additionally, one workshop with stakeholders was attended and the park’s Management Plan was analyzed. The results show that there are several factors in the practical, political, and personal spheres enabling the use of Doughnut Economics. These include data availability, favorable national legislation, and values that resonate with the Doughnut. Challenges include using proxies and indicators, resistance from some parts of the political sphere, and other priorities stemming from shortfalls in the social foundation. Furthermore, the results indicate that the Doughnut has impacted, and has the potential to further impact the three spheres in numerous ways. For example, by expanding the BB National Park’s horizons and contributing to a holistic understanding of the park, legitimizing existing ideas, and inspiring other actors to follow suit. The study concludes that the use of Doughnut Economics shows potential for change in a sustainable direction in all three spheres and their interconnections. However, the use of the Doughnut without explicitly implementing its wider theoretical background as described in the seven shifts mitigates the transformative potential. Thus, the study recommends an explicit use of all the seven shifts.

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