The Value of Nature

My neighbour spends hours at a time working on his yard. When he first moved in and I noticed how much he seemed to love yardwork, I envisioned something very different than what I wake up to each day.

He has pulled out all of the grass and removed trees only to replace them with rock and brick. It is low maintence – he does not have to worry about summer water restrictions or getting someone to look after the garden when he is away. Besides, what benefits does nature really provide?

This is where people seem to get stuck, especially in our digital age. There is a common misconception that nature does not have any real value. The truth is, nature is much more than beautiful to look at. While environmentalists like myself might occasional cringe at the thought of turning our forests and wetlands into dollar signs in order to garner environmental support, nature does have economic value and it can and has been assessed.

Pacific Parklands Foundation commissioned the David Suzuki Foundation to complete The Natural Capital Review of BC’s Lower Mainland. Reports have also been done in eastern Canada.

Such reports evaluate the economic value and benefits of nature. They analyze our natural environment in economic terms and consequently assess the environment in a language that the more business-minded can understand.

Humans have a tendency to create machines and tailor technology to solve our problems now, in the downstream. Instead, it might be worth taking an approach with more longevity by looking upstream to see what benefits the natural environment can provide.

Check out this recent DSF article for more about the value of nature.

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