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Steve Patriarco

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Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 13, 2011

It comes as no surprise that nature doesn't typically make it onto the balance sheets of very many corporations, governments or world financial institutions. As any bookkeeper knows, not accounting for all of your costs in a venture can spell disaster for your bottom line. In this case, the bottom line is our planet and the vast resources it supplies and upon which we all depend - man and animal. This is an issue that received a lot of *verbal* attention at the Oct. 18 UN meeting in Japan. Given that almost all financial and economic capital is derived from natural systems, what can WE do as a global community to ensure that nature begins to make it onto public and private institutions' balance sheets? Nature-inclusive alternatives to GDP? What else? And more importantly, how can these changes be pushed for on a large scale? One thing is clear - if we don't act soon, economic cost-benefit equations the world over will continue to value such rich ecosystems as rainforests as worth more dead than alive.

Some articles in popular media to grease the wheels:

"U.N. report stresses the value of nature to world's economies" Washington Post, Oct. 2010

"Invisible Nature Key To Global Economy" Reuters, Oct. 2010

"Partha Dasgupta: Economist Visionary" Utne Reader, Dec. 2009

Prince Charles: 'direct relationship' between ecosystems and the economy Mongabay, Feb. 2011

-----------------

A more scholarly resource:

The formal report put out by TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity), entitled,

"Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature"
. There are three scenarios: a natural ecosystem (forests), a human settlement (city), and a business sector (mining), to illustrate how the economic concepts and tools described in TEEB can help equip society with the means to incorporate the values of nature into decision-making at all levels. This report was launched on the 20 October 2010 at the CBD COP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
The time to act is NOW. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations. Please, help me help them by watching this very brief video, and thank you!

This post was edited on: 2011-03-30 at 12:59 PM by: Steve Patriarco

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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 13, 2011

Another relevant article:

"$5,000,000,000,000: The cost each year of vanishing rainforest" The Independent, Oct. 2010

This post was edited on: 2011-03-14 at 05:28 PM by: Steve Patriarco


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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 14, 2011

An international meeting on green economics** was held this past Monday in Jakarta, with experts agreeing that Indonesia must adopt green economic projects to ensure the sustainability of the country's economic growth. This development comes right on the heels of articles by Akira Mirutto (Strategic Asia) and others that have drawn attention to RI's heavy reliance on the production of primary commodities and called for a national and regional focus on economic diversification.

The meeting was organized by The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Institute of Developing Economies (IDE-JETRO), Japan and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

More on it here:

" RI advised to adopt green economic policies" The Jakarta Post, Mar. 2011



** "Green economics is an economic development model based on sustainable development and ecological economic knowledge in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities while conducting economic activities." - The Jakarta Post, 8 March 2011

This post was edited on: 2011-03-14 at 05:34 PM by: Steve Patriarco


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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 17, 2011

Video Interview with David Suzuki

Here, the famous academic and environmental activist David Suzuki talks about the economics of nature. Worthwhile watch, but a little lengthy (28 min).


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
The time to act is NOW. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations. Please, help me help them by watching this brief video, and thank you!

This post was edited on: 2011-03-17 at 11:56 AM by: Steve Patriarco


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Tom Smith

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 30, 2011

Thanks very much for starting and contributing so many interesting articles to this thread Steve. £4.5 trillion loss to the global economy a year?! $650 per person per year?! Imagine if we put that into conservation!confused

Anyway, here's my input.

It's a really interesting article on intergenerational well-being, and how it increases over time if and only if a comprehensive measure of
wealth per capita increases. Frivolous waste of nature like in the case of deforestation is reducing the wealth per capita and therefore the future well-being of youth.

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1537/5.full.pdf+html

If you can't get to it (I think I'm signed on with my Uni) drop me a note on tomsmithbristol@gmail.com and I'll send it to you. Totally worth a scan, I promise you.


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Grand Inquisitor

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Mar 31, 2011

I believe those in power ( Corporations and the governments they bribe ), They will exploit nature to the very end and pass the consequences down to all of us in the form of a lower standard of healthy living. The only solurion I can see is for the masses of consumers to stop consuming... There are so many things for sale that we truly have no need for. Consumers can put a stop to the capitalist myth that we must have continued growth and profit... Don't buy into the Hollywood Mafia hype !


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Tara Beardmore

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 3, 2011

I agree with you to some point but I think that consumers are too bombarded with things they "can't" spend money on and it is just overwhelming. You can't buy palm oil, you can't buy cage eggs, you can't get your photo taken with baby gibbons in Thailand, you can't buy fur, you can't buy ivory, you can't buy shells, you can't eat tuna etc, etc the list goes on.

In a perfect world, responsibility should be on governments to make the right decisions about what they will and won't let companies exploit. I don't fully understand why such exploitation of our natural resources is allowed to go on. Is it because of our capitalist societies that forbid governments to step in - or are our governments, to put it bluntly, corrupt?

Perhaps a cap should be put on corporate exploitation?


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Tara Beardmore

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 3, 2011

I agree with you to some point but I think that consumers are too bombarded with things they "can't" spend money on and it is just overwhelming. You can't buy palm oil, you can't buy cage eggs, you can't get your photo taken with baby gibbons in Thailand, you can't buy fur, you can't buy ivory, you can't buy shells, you can't eat tuna etc, etc the list goes on.

In a perfect world, responsibility should be on governments to make the right decisions about what they will and won't let companies exploit. I don't fully understand why such exploitation of our natural resources is allowed to go on. Is it because of our capitalist societies that forbid governments to step in - or are our governments, to put it bluntly, corrupt?

Perhaps a cap should be put on corporate exploitation?


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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 7, 2011

Tara and Grand Inquisitor, I agree wholeheartedly that humanity needs to change its consumption patterns. Particularly us here in the West. The US, for example, is responsible for one quarter (25%) of global fuel consumption(!). That is simply reckless and irresponsible, not to mention morally reprehensible.

At the same time, I agree with Tara that people are already starting to get overwhelmed with all the "can'ts." It comes down to information overload. We ultimately only have so much energy and focus to devote to ourselves, our loved ones, and our most direct passions. Even the most environmentally- and socially-conscious among us have trouble living a truly "sustainable" lifestyle. How can those who are not so inclined be expected to do so? As wonderful as that would be, I believe it is unrealistic. Also, keep in mind it is not *all* "evil" corporations, though they certainly deserve their share of the blame. In many cases, it is deep poverty that is causing people to have no choice but to deplete their landscapes to survive.

In the case of governments and corporations, I think the key to preventing them from "exploiting nature to the very end and passing the consequences down to all of us," as Grand Inquisitor put it, is to *change the economics.* Right now, quite simply, these ecosystems are worth more dead than they are alive. Profits trump people and the environment. But by pushing hard to create the public support (and in turn, political will) for global carbon markets and related schemes, we can tip this equation back in the other direction. Preservation, not destruction, would become profitable. By accounting - in very real *monetary* terms - for all the services these ecosystems provide to us free-of-charge (i.e., clean air, water, soil, mitigation from natural disasters, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, etc), there may be hope left here before it is too late.

In other words, I believe a lot of people won't buy (or will outright ignore or not care about) the *intrinsic value* argument of species and pristine landscapes. But when it boils down to $ - when it starts to hit their wallets and their bottom lines - I believe a paradigm shift can and will happen. The question in my mind is how much we will have to lose and how many battles (political and physical) will be fought before we finally see the light.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
The time to act is NOW. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations. Please, help me help them by watching this brief video, and thank you!

This post was edited on: 2011-04-07 at 02:06 PM by: Steve Patriarco


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Grand Inquisitor

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 7, 2011

Hi Steve, We need more environmentally passionate individuals like yourself.
Remember Earth Liberation Front ( E.L.F.) ?? They are still very active around the world.

They are the eco-defense group dedicated to taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by causing economic damage to businesses through the use of direct action.

ELF was classified as the top "domestic terror" threat in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2001.
The ELF's guidelines require that individuals or groups acting on its behalf "take all necessary precautions against harming any animal — human and nonhuman."[
ELF members work in small cells, using "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment".

Or so I have heard... cool


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Tara Beardmore

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 9, 2011

I'm not too sure how I feel about activism like that in conservation. Although the media jump on stuff like that and the cause gets publicity - it can be represented in a negative light - and I don't like seeing a negative light cast on conservation. Organisations like Sea Shepard for example have methods that I don't necessarily agree with. I think a message can be conveyed without aggression - afterall, look at what Gandhi achieved.

Having said that - there are passionate people out there (like steve - and yourself!) working their butts off for planet earth and its creatures. And I think that is very commendable.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
Inspire, Educate and Act. This is how I take on conservation and how I encourage it in the people I meet. By watching this short video at http://gg.tigweb.org/tig/deforestaction/52557/ and voting for me - you will be helping me make a bigger difference on a larger scale.


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Tara Beardmore

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 9, 2011

And.. as much as I hate to admit it, I believe you are both right about the economics. To get people "off their butts" so to speak you need to appeal to them. Conservation for so many of us, lets face it, is a luxury. Many people are concerned about paying off their mortgage, or even when their next meal comes in.
Therefore locally, it is important to make sure the community can benefit from the cause.
And globally, people need to see that in the long term, these causes will benefit their wallets too.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
Inspire, Educate and Act. This is how I take on conservation and how I encourage it in the people I meet. By watching this short video at http://gg.tigweb.org/tig/deforestaction/52557/ and voting for me - you will be helping me make a bigger difference on a larger scale.


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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 10, 2011


inquisitor wrote:

Hi Steve, We need more environmentally passionate individuals like yourself.
Remember Earth Liberation Front ( E.L.F.) ?? They are still very active around the world.

They are the eco-defense group dedicated to taking the profit motive out of environmental destruction by causing economic damage to businesses through the use of direct action.

ELF was classified as the top "domestic terror" threat in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2001.
The ELF's guidelines require that individuals or groups acting on its behalf "take all necessary precautions against harming any animal — human and nonhuman."[
ELF members work in small cells, using "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment".

Or so I have heard... *


Hello Grand Inquisitor, Yes I am familiar with the ELF. Personally I do not support and agree with their tactics at all. While they allege to take "all necessary precautions against harming any animal - human and nonhuman," I would argue that many of their actions are irresponsible, reckless and immoral. If the idea is to bring attention to the immoral actions of corporations and institutions themselves, the ELF's actions fail, quite brilliantly, in creating this dialogue. It becomes a temporary, nationwide discussion on "vigilante eco-terrorists," not on the industrial/political processes that the ELF was targeting.

When it comes down to it, terrorist acts or vigilante acts of sabotage rarely, if ever lead to a positive, directed shift in economic or political ideology, which is what I believe we *truly* need to begin saving our natural systems before its too late. I'd personally prefer to be on the right side of law, working to shift that ideology through legal means that can benefit - not scare or coerce - all stakeholders. I am aggravated by unscrupulous or exploitative corporations as much as the next person, but I don't think such unlawful acts do anything to advance the cause of proper stewardship of our world. They also risk hurting innocent citizens trying to go about their lives and put food on their table for their families. I personally find that unacceptable, regardless of the actions of the targeted company/persons in question.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
The time to act is NOW
. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations.
Please, help me help them by watching this brief video, and thank you!


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Steve Patriarco

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 10, 2011

Hello Grand Inquisitor, Yes I am familiar with the ELF. Personally I do not support or agree with their tactics at all. While they allege to take "all necessary precautions against harming any animal - human and nonhuman," I would argue that many of their actions are irresponsible, reckless and immoral. If the idea is to bring attention to the immoral actions of corporations and institutions themselves, the ELF's actions fail, quite brilliantly, in creating this dialogue. It instead becomes a temporary, nationwide discussion on "vigilante eco-terrorists," not on the industrial/political processes that the ELF was originally targeting. Once the media coverage dies down, these companies and institutions rebuild and go back to business as usual. What does that accomplish? And look at the potential risks to innocents.

When it comes down to it, terrorist acts or vigilante acts of sabotage rarely, if ever lead to a positive, directed shift in economic or political ideology, which is what I believe we *truly* need to begin saving our natural systems on a *macro-scale* before its too late. While it is challenging and frustrating at times, I believe there is plenty that we can do by working on the right side of law, working to shift economic and political ideologies to sustainable ones that can benefit all stakeholders. I am as aggravated by unscrupulous or exploitative corporations as much as the next person, but I don't think such unlawful acts do anything to advance the cause of proper stewardship of our world. The fact that they also risk hurting innocent citizens who are simply trying to go about their lives and put food on their table for their families is something I find unacceptable - regardless of the actions of the targeted company/persons in question.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------
The time to act is NOW. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations. Please, help me help them by watching this brief video, and thank you!

This post was edited on: 2011-04-10 at 03:27 PM by: Steve Patriarco


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Grand Inquisitor

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Re: Accounting for Nature in the Global Economy: Why we must, and how can we?
Apr 10, 2011

Hi Steve,I understand your concerns. When you say " I believe there is plenty that we can do by working on the right side of law".


The only problem is that our governments and the corporations they work for do NOT work on the right side of the law.
They write the laws which allow them to continue to destroy our planet. These are not the laws of the people, they write laws based on profit, corruption, cronyism and greed.
These people do everything they can to avoid compliance. Not a month goes by that I read about how they cut corners by dumping toxins or ignored safe engineering practices, etc.
How can we change a system that is on the wrong side the law ?
How do we fight a system that is inherently against Mother Nature ??


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