love nature back: give her services a price tag

woman tree

Of course ecosystems are huge capital assets, and should be accounted for as such.

We know from the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment that these services dwarf any economic value from their plundering.

Now we know how to avoid their degradation across multiple stakeholder groups, thanks to a new report from World Resources (via two steps forward).

Restoring Nature's Capital presents the results of the earliest concerted thinking about how to address both the stark realities and the enormous potential uncovered by the MEA.

Says WRI, "the seeds of change needed to put us on a path to sustaining ecosystem services are already emerging, assembled from existing pockets of best practice around the globe."

In a nutshell, we need to view "ecosystem health and development aspirations as mutually reinforcing sides of the same coin, instead of a zero sum game", says the WRI report.

More important, says WRI, we need "a new generation of information and governance approaches."

The report calls for an increase in the availability of information on ecosystem services and a redressing of the balance in favor of local rights to resources and local voices in decision making.

It also calls for managing decisions across levels -- local, regional, national, and international -- and increasing the use of accountability mechanisms and economic and financial incentives.

WRI goes beyond the ideal to offer an 'action agenda' that involves strengthening each of these groups' ability to play their part effectively -- and suggests new institutions that might be needed to stimulate change.

Most significantly, it goes beyond the blame game of who has caused the destruction of ecosystems by offering a plan and charting a course for change.

Bottom line: the report authors contend that nature's benefits could sustain many more generations if businesses, governments, and civil society pursue such an action agenda.

Published by Ken on May 12th, 2007 tagged Climate Change, Systems Thinking

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