Valuing Natural Capital: The Economic Invisibility of Nature
The Economic Invisibility of Nature
The ultimate source of all economic capital is natural capital and the world economy is a subsidiary of nature, not the other way round.
We are damaging and over-consuming the planet’s natural capital, on which we all depend for our prosperity and, indeed, survival. Even with over a billion people with no access to drinkable water and living on less than a dollar a day, we are consuming fifty per cent more of the planet’s natural resources than it can renew every year. And, remarkably, we are depleting and destroying this wonderful asset with little idea of the economic consequences. This is, in no small part, due to the economic invisibility of nature and the fact that the value of the planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity has not been taken into account, fully and consistently, in our economic, accounting and decision making systems.
Information is Beautiful Images
The images hope to inspire organizations and show the opportunities that can be secured if the mechanisms needed to value nature’s ecosystems and biodiversity are developed. These valuation mechanisms are vital if we are to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The ‘Billions’ diagrams below are called treemaps, which is a method for displaying data by using nested rectangles. The diagrams show billion dollar amounts scaled in size as rectangles. Below is an excerpt from the main diagram:
The colours in the ‘Billions’ diagrams represent the category of expenditure, as shown in this key. To view the full diagram, click the image beneath the key to enlarge and read the detail.
Costing the Earth
The ‘Costing the Earth’ image below uses scale to show global gross domestic product at $63,000 billion, and the value provided by the Earth to the global economy at $50,800 billion. The red dot at the side, which is in relative size, shows that the expenditure needed to preserve the Earth’s natural capital is $93 billion. Click the image to enlarge and read the detail.
Walk the Talk
Click the image to enlarge and read the detail.