Front Porch Blog

How to Get Wall Street to Hug a Tree

Increasingly, economic measures are being used to assess ecosystems by way of the universally comprehensible currency of money. As it is, environmentalists “aren’t really relevant in policy and business decision-making. If we don’t do something to become relevant, we don’t have a chance.” Many scholars and activists suspect (or at least hope) that human beings have reached the point where we’re willing to pay for nature’s services, because we’ve finally come to accept that there’s a relationship between caring for the environment and ensuring our well-being. Despite the snooze-inducing moniker, ecosystem services have occasionally appeared on the public-consciousness radar. The most frequently referenced episode occurred a decade ago, when New York City officials determined that it would be cheaper to protect from pollution the upstate New York watershed, which naturally purifies the city’s water, than it would be to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on a municipal water treatment plant. If conservation is to matter, both for its own survival as a movement and to effectively reduce damage to the biosphere, the mission must be recast. “You do realize how badly we’re losing, don’t you?” asks Rebecca Shaw, director of conservation science and planning at the Nature Conservancy in San Francisco.
News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes




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