Exploring the economics of biodiversity: Last chance to save nature and ourselves?
When the UK government’s finance arm (known as the Treasury) produced a report on the economic implications of climate change in 2006 the subject slowly began to get noticed by people in the financial community who have the clout to make a difference.
This week the Treasury published
The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. This is about the perilous state of nature and the dire economic consequences of its over-exploitation. Or what is sometimes referred to as the Next Great Dying.
Very kindly, the Treasury has distilled the mammoth report into 10 pages and 10 headlines.
It makes a good checklist on the economics of biodiversity for when you’re next challenged on the value of the rhino, starling or common greenshield lichen.
Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature. We have collectively failed to engage with Nature sustainably, to the extent that our demands far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on. Our unsustainable engagement with Nature is endangering the prosperity of current and future generations. At the heart of the problem lies deep-rooted, widespread institutional failure. The solution starts with understanding and accepting a simple truth: our economies are embedded within Nature, not external to it. We need to change how we think, act and measure success. Ensure that our demands on Nature do not exceed its supply, and that we increase Nature’s supply relative to its current level. Change our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path. Transform our institutions and systems – in particular our finance and education systems – to enable these changes and sustain them for future generations. Transformative change is possible – we and our descendants deserve nothing less.