George Monbiot Guardian … ‘Never mind that the new environmental watchdog will have no teeth. Never mind that the government plans to remove protection from local wildlife sites. Never mind that its 25-year environment plan is all talk and no action. We don’t need rules any more. We have a pouch of magic powder we can sprinkle on any problem to make it disappear. This powder is the monetary valuation of the natural world. Through the market, we can avoid conflict and hard choices, laws and policies, by replacing political decisions with economic calculations.
Almost all official documents on environmental issues are now peppered with references to “natural capital” and to the Natural Capital Committee, the Laputian body the government has created to price the living world and develop a set of “national natural capital accounts”. The government admits that “at present we cannot robustly value everything we wish to in economic terms; wildlife being a particular challenge”. Hopefully, such gaps can soon be filled, so we’ll know exactly how much a primrose is worth.
In concluding he says …
‘The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price.
This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.
Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.