By revealing and communicating the specifics of what nature is doing for us, we hope to make it easier for nature to become a primary consideration in all decisions. Natural capital assessments occasionally involve monetary valuation.
In some cases, valuing benefits from nature in monetary terms can help us connect to people outside the conservation choir, but natural capital assessments are more typically about showing relative values and unveiling hidden trade-offs. Many people still think of them as swamplands that should be drained for development.
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Some worry about valuing nature in monetary terms because any estimate is necessarily an underestimate.
Essay On Ways To Protect Nature
However, thinking of decision-makers as automatons looking blindly at balance sheets and maximizing monetary returns is misguided, at best.
Imagine going into a meeting with a national minister of finance to convince her to support protection for local mangroves.
You would be more likely to get her attention if, in addition to talking about saving mangroves just for the sake of mangroves, you could also talk about how the mangroves benefit local fisheries and protect lives and properties by lessening the force of wind and waves during storms.
But too often, conservationists dismiss earnest efforts to engage more people in acknowledging nature’s value.
I work for The Natural Capital Project, an organization that seeks to help people value how much we depend on nature and then factor this information into decisions about the use of natural resources.