" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

There is no wealth but life

Finally, in a move that became inevitable once bogus methods of valuing nature were invented by economists with the very same mental framework that produced sub-prime lending and credit-default swaps, a price has been put on the natural beauty of our land. Our country has been degraded into an accounting unit; our beautiful land has been marketised.

This, in my view, is the only possible interpretation of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, an attempt to put a monetary value on everything that we, the human species, gain from our fellow species and earth's sacred existence. It styles itself as 'the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity' and is 'part of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) initiative'. That is what we have to do of course: learn to live with environmental change, rather than learning to cherish and respect nature's way. The ideology here is very much about nature learning to live with us, in contrast to the opposing lessons of permaculture.

The naivety of the respectable, well-meaning but misguided scientists, like Bob Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra, who have become embroiled in this exercise is baffling. The majority appear to be natural scientists, and this, alongside the large-scale funding that was presumably available to support this research, appears to explain their mistaken decision to become involved. Perhaps they genuinely do not understand how economists can, once given something 'scientific' to work with, warp and distort values until they arrive at the answer that suits their profit-driven objectives. The process of discounting is just one such technique.

Knowing exactly how much people would pay not to lose a bit of woodland is a real step forward for a developer. He only has to find this much money and give it to the local authority and he has solved the problem of the devastating loss of the trees. A little bit of carbon mitigation, a few bus fares to travel to the next closest park, and the problem of local resistance to concrete is solved. Profits expand and the irritating impediment to economic growth from nature and those who love nature has been eliminated.

The impossibility of substituting money for nature is a central tenent of a green approach to economics; to imply that we can somehow find a price for nature, a price for life, only proves that those who come up with such calculations need to be removed from positions of authority. If they are allowed to continue to dominate our national life it is clear that our future and that of many of the species we share the planet with is doomed.

Editorial Notes: The link to the report is here. -KS

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


Degrowth, Sustainability, and Tackling Global Inequalities

One of the provocations the degrowth movement offers is whether true …

Chinese energy figures suggest much slower growth than advertised

Energy consumption statistics hint that China may have already begun its …

Food Stamps Are Worth Double at These Michigan Farmers Markets—Helping Families and Local Businesses

A program that helps low-income families and local farmers.

A Field Guide to Negative Progress

In an age of contraction and decline—or, shall we say, negative …

Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis: The Medicine of Austerity Is Not Working, We Need a New Treatment

With the debt clock ticking, Greece is fast running out of money

Raising Minimum Wage: We’re in This Together

On Wednesday, food workers and other low-wage earners around the country …

Obama’s Trade Agreements are a Gift to Corporations

On Thursday, legislation moved forward that would give President Obama …