When we think about the value of nature in terms of human perception, an automatic thought process rates one aspect over another. Consider the following ways in which we place value on aspects of the natural world:
- Emotional Value
- Direct Value
- Indirect Value
- Bigger Is Better
To answer the question of how much a natural asset is worth, we need to be more conscious about the importance that it has upon our very existence rather than how much money we can make from it. Once an aspect of the environment is degraded, destroyed or made extinct it’s gone either forever.
Mankind has neither the capacity nor the aptitude to replicate natural systems at the same level that nature does. That takes geological time. Imagine creating a giant weather machine that regulates global weather patterns, or enormous refrigeration plants at the Earth’s poles that prevent the ice from melting. If we could, they would be very useful right now, but the fact is that we cannot and will never be able to. We have to rely on natural systems to regulate global weather patterns and maintain ice at the poles. This is the deceptive power of the human ego.
We have to realise that many aspects of the natural environment are so vital that they fall outside of the anthropological ideology of economics. However, there is another method from which we can place a value upon nature; a method that exemplifies authentic and true value for all – ecosystem services.