" />
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.


What is a Platform Co-op

The good news is that there is an alternative — one that places …

An Overlooked Element of the Good Life in Italy (and Everywhere)

Cooperatives, such as this park cafe in Forli, can achieve social as well as …

The Democratized Economy: Big Boxes, Urban Centers, and Placemaking

The Democratized Economy is an economy in which there are many small-scale …

The War on Cash

Our concerns are unfashionable. Without any explicit declaration, the War on …

Protect the Earth. Live Simply... Our Future Depends On It.

In November and December of 2015, I visited a couple of places in India that …

Helsinki Timebank: Currency as a Commons

In October 2009, while expecting another futile climate summit in nearby …

On Surplus, Part 3: How Surplus (Wealth) is Created

The foundational industrial and productive, surplus-creating, part of the …