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Friday, June 6, 2014

Study: value of nature > 2X global GDP

I’ve written about the concept of ecosystem services - the idea of attaching dollar signs to the benefits provided by natural systems, in order to elevate the importance of preserving and conserving them. While it strikes me as a sad commentary on how society has devolved – the fact that we have to put a price tag on nature in order to really value it - the concept can be powerful, if it’s given proper attention.

This must-read article in The New York Times describes and contextualizes the findings of a new study that suggests that even the most narrow-minded and economically-motivated policymakers had better start paying big-time attention to nature.  The closer we look at nature, the bigger its value is – and the bigger it will get as the globe warms and our climate is disrupted.

Changes in the global value of ecosystem services, published in the May issue of the journal Global Environmental Change, concludes that the value of the services of the world’s ecosystems is between $US 4.3–20.2 trillion per year – contributing “more than twice as much to human well-being as global GDP.”

The study couldn't come at a better time.  President Obama has proposed the most ambitious actions in our history to combat climate disruption, positioning our nation to finally lead a global effort to stop history's largest uncontrolled chemistry experiment - the carbonization of our atmosphere. 

As the NYT article points out, with every day that passes without action, we are losing immense economic – as well as spiritual - value.


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