Green acounting

Fresh air, clean water, sunshine, functioning ecosystems etc. undoubtedly have great value – it can be traded or bring income, it can make you feel good intrinsically in the form of improving health or provide wellbeing, and it can also provide imaginary value, i.e the picture it creates in your mind.

Putting a financial value on the environment could be the most important thing we can do to help conserve nature. We must invest enough to manage these resources. When investors and governments provide money, they do so according to where it will bring most income or other value. If investors are unaware of the value of an environment, they may ruin it.

World Bank: The annual contribution of coastal and marine ecosystems to the global economy exceed USD 20 trillion, over a third of the total gross national product (GNP) of all the countries of the world. Such ecosystems are typically much undervalued when governments make decisions about development. Values to local people also are often small.

“An absence of proper green accounting has allowed people to privatise the gains from the environment but socialise the costs”. The long term benefits must be dominant – and local also!

The Economist, The World Bank: Report “Environment Matters”, World Resources Institute, Carl Safina, Blue Ocean Institute
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