In today’s society money talks and turns into power. The environment may not be able to speak for itself, recently researcher have put a price tag on the value of the ecosystem services being provided by the natural environment worldwide. That price tag: $48.7 trillion USD. An article in the New York Times discusses how natural ecosystems provide protection for human infrastructure and how the costs of replacing those protective functions with man made devices such as levees is actually much more expensive.
The article also cites a new study in the journal Global Environmental Change. These are the highlights which that study discusses:
- • Global loss of ecosystem services due to land use change is $US 4.3–20.2 trillion/yr.
- • Ecoservices contribute more than twice as much to human well-being as global GDP.
- • Estimates in monetary units are useful to show the relative magnitude of ecoservices.
- • Valuation of ecosystem services is not the same as commodification or privatization.
- • Ecosystem services are best considered public goods requiring new institutions.
- (Science Direct, article abstract)