Language is surely one of the greatest political weapons ever invented because it invisibly defines the world in narrow ways and can impair our capacity to see and think clearly. This is one of the takeaways I had after looking through Sian Sullivan’s new website, “The Natural Capital Myth and Other Stories,” which collects twelve years of her writing (2008 to present) on this theme.
It may come as a surprise to most, that my answer for the times is capitalism. What is capitalism? – it is the ethics of a society, whose aim is to maintain its capital – that is, spiritual, pleasurable and human assets, combined with that which maintains all those things – the undiminished vigour of life – in soil, sea, biomass and biodiversity.
At The Future of UK Farming conference this April, The Sustainable Food Trust’s Patrick Holden chaired a session on “Measuring and Valuing Sustainability”. The panel discussed how to transform the economic environment for sustainable food production by empowering farmers to deliver measurable public goods.
But what is “natural capital”? And why use it to refer to “nature”?
Some people object to the concept of “natural capital” because they say it reduces nature to the status of a commodity to be marketed at its exchange value.
This seems to be a pivotal moment in contemporary struggles over how nature is best valued, managed and allocated.