Natural world

A green economy is one that invests and restores our ecosystems and biodiversity in order to secure their services forever. Here issue experts share practical suggestions on valuing and managing our natural capital.

July, 2013

Should nature have to prove its value?

Dr Sian Sullivan - Birkbeck University of London

After reading my blog post 'The natural capital myth' (1), the Green Economy Coalition invited me to write a piece on the ‘debates around valuing natural capital’. The request was to ‘use the article to present my solution for protecting and restoring our systems in the current economic paradigm, given the current rate of ecosystem degradation and the failings of sustainable development strategies in the last 30 years’. No small task in 700 words in two weeks!

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July, 2013

Does Future Earth get the big picture?

Victor Anderson - Anglia Ruskin University

Around 200 people gathered in the headquarters of the Royal Society in London recently to discuss Future Earth.  The building is crammed full of scientific history and oozing with pictures of the all-time greats, never letting you forget the Royal Society has been at the cutting edge of discovery for more than 350 years.  That means there is a whole series of hard acts to follow, and those of us with less than 100% self-confidence might just wonder if we can really be part of achieving the scientific equivalent of miracles all over again - at ... Continue reading

June, 2013

From drops to dollars: what about the right to water?

Mary Ann Manahan - Focus on the Global South

If we are thinking about water in the context of a ‘green economy’, then, like other ‘resources’ it  would be treated as a natural capital and an economic asset. And if we take the ‘green economy’ approach to its logical conclusion, it will likely create and further establish water trading markets, similar to existing ones based on carbon but inclusive of the services and functions of water as well as the resource itself.

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May, 2013
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Exploring opportunities for green growth in the Greater Mekong


Spanning dusty savannahs, dense rainforests and vast river flows, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) is one of the most biologically diverse and agriculturally rich areas of the world. Flowing from its headwaters in the Tibetan plateau down to the Vietnam delta, the Mekong River unites six diverse countries in a collective economic as well as ecological future (Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam).

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November, 2012
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‘Sandy’ tells us why the climate change denial must stop

Sunita Narain - Centre for Science and Environment

I start this blog on climate politics as tropical superstorm Sandy expends its fury on the eastern coast of the US. The satellite imagery shows the movement of the gathering storm as it builds and breaks over land, bringing with it massive destruction and massive upheaval in the wealthiest and most powerful nation of the world. It speaks of the extraordinary power of nature and should leave us both shocked at the possibilities of destruction but also in awe of its sheer force. This is the shock and awe that we need to know more about.

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October, 2012
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¿Es posible proteger los derechos de la Naturaleza en una economía verde?

Soledad Ghione and Eduardo Gudynas

Los informes sobre los problemas ambientales o la pérdida de biodiversidad no son nuevos. Desde los años 60, ha crecido la información acerca de los impactos ambientales producto de las estrategias de desarrollo convencionales basadas en el crecimiento económico. La crisis ambiental actual refleja que las alertas han sido ignoradas.

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October, 2012
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The value of valuing ecosystem services

Ina Porras - IIED

Last week at the BioEcon Conference in Cambridge economists from all over the world gathered to share experiences on how to value ecosystem services, and how to incorporate these valuations into decision-making. I joined the workshop as a ‘practicing economist’, working with IIED and partners in developing countries where the environmental threats are ever present, the data is never there, funds are always scarce, and the message needs to be clear, and on time. What are my impressions on how to make our research more useful?

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October, 2012
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The new adventurers – de-couplers, zeronauts and net-positives

Dax Lovegrove - WWF

Many of us often complain about the slow pace of change – the slow trudge towards a green economy – but there are reasons to be excited. So many business plans are getting a real make-over right now.

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September, 2012

Do conservationists back the green economy?

Constanza Martinez

As we speak over 8000 delegates from over 150 countries are pouring onto a South Korean island in the East China Sea to discuss the future of conservation and development.

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July, 2012

A green economy beats in the Heart of Borneo

Chris Greenwood - WWF

The Heart of Borneo is a vast and largely intact stretch of globally significant rainforest that cloaks the mountains, foothills and adjacent lowlands of Borneo, the third largest island in the world.  In February 2007, Indonesia, along with Brunei and Malaysia - its two governing partner countries on Borneo - signed the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Declaration.   A sign of their commitment to conserve and sustainably develop a 220,000km2 treasure trove of unique and endangered animals such as the Orangutan and Pigmy elephant, and magnificent plants, such as the world’s larges... Continue reading