Ekins was a prominent member of the UK Green Party (now the Green Party of England and Wales) in the 1970s and 80s. He left in 1986 after controversy over reforms he and others were promoting to streamline Green Party structures. This group, known as 'Maingreen', was seen as a forerunner of the moves to reform the party’s internal structures by a later group known as Green 2000.
Career after politics
Ekins has been a prominent green academic in the field of sustainable economics. He has also worked as a consultant.
In 1996, he set up Forum for the Future with Sara Parkin and Jonathon Porritt. The Forum says: “When Paul Ekins set up the Sustainable Economy Unit as part of Forum for the Future back in 1996, he argued that ‘many of today’s environmental problems are really economic problems in disguise, and getting the economics right lies at the heart of any solutions agenda.’ He aimed ‘to show that radical moves towards environmental sustainability are compatible with prosperity’. This remains a central part of Forum’s mission.”
He has worked as an advisor to the Environmental Audit Select Committee of the British House of Commons. In 1994, Ekins received a UN Environment Programme Global 500 Award ”for outstanding environmental achievement”.
Paul Ekins took a Ph.D. in economics at Birkbeck, University of London. He became Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster, from October 2002-2007. He is currently Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at University College London.
His academic work examines the "conditions and policies for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy". 
Hi is author of a number of books:
- Paul Ekins (1992), A New world order, London: Routledge, ISBN 0415071143, 0415071143
- Paul Ekins (1992), The Gaia atlas of green economics, New York: Anchor Books, ISBN 0385419147, 0385419147
- Paul Ekins (1993), Cities and sustainability, Swindon: AFRC-SERC Clean Technology Unit, ISBN 1870669045, OCLC 28261170, 1870669045
- Paul Ekins; Manfred A. Max-Neef (August 14, 1992), Real Life Economics, Routledge, ISBN 9780415079778, 0415079772
- Paul Ekins (1998), Ecological tax reform, environmental policy and the competitiveness of British industry, London: Forum for the Future
- Paul Ekins (2000), Economic growth and environmental sustainability, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0415173339, 0203011759
- Paul Ekins (2010), Hydrogen energy, London: Earthscan, ISBN 9781844076802, OCLC 428731286, 1844076806
- Paul Ekins (2011), Environmental tax reform (ETR), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199584505, 0199584508
- Paul Ekins; Mike Bradshaw; Jim Watson (2015), Global Energy: Issues, Potentials and Policy Implications, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198719533, 0198719531
- Policy Studies Institute
- Forum for the Future
- Works by or about Paul Ekins in libraries (WorldCat catalog)