Changes in attitudes towards global warming

A place to bring a contemplative / Dharmic perspective and opinions to current events and politics.

In the past 5 years I have become...

More concerned about man-made climate change
23
50%
Equally concerned about man-made climate change
9
20%
Less concerned about man-made climate change
6
13%
Never believed in it, still don't
5
11%
Climate change? Global warming? Bring it on!
3
7%
 
Total votes: 46

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Kim OHara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Tue May 15, 2018 7:26 am

LIVING THE CHANGE

Our generation is the first to start feeling the impacts of climate disruption and the last to be able to do something meaningful about it. Despite this, politicians are reprehensively slow to take proportionate action, especially in Australia and the US.

We need to keep the pressure on them, but we need not helplessly wait for politicians to act. Ordinary people and communities have the power to help keep emissions down and thereby help to protect our common home.

“Living the Change: faithful choices for a flourishing world” is a globally-connected community of religious and spiritual institutions working together with sustainable consumption experts to champion sustainable ways of life. The website is: https://livingthechange.net/

Living the Change was initiated at the UN Climate Conference in 2017 by the US-based multi-faith organization, GreenFaith, an interfaith organization whose mission is to educate, organize and mobilise people of diverse faiths to become environmental leaders. Serving to coordinate Living the Change, GreenFaith now has Implementing Partners who collaborate to shape a vision for a worldwide community of practice which drives lifestyle-related emission reductions. ...

Can lifestyle change make a difference?

Living the Change emerged, in part, from a study which showed that “if the world's top 10 percent of carbon dioxide emitters were to cut their emissions to the level of the average European Union citizen, global emissions would decline by 33 percent. If the top 20 percent were to do so, the reduction would be about 40 percent.”[1] In other words, while structural change is legitimately pursued as being potentially most effective in creating change, individual behaviour change within a targeted demographic can indeed make a meaningful contribution to stabilizing the climate.

Given that close to six billion people identify with a religion (Pew Research Center, 2017), the opportunity for these groups to create meaningful change through collective action cannot be ignored. ...
:reading: I have been quoting from https://www.arrcc.org.au/living_the_change, the site of the Aussie partner organisation, but the main website is https://livingthechange.net.

:twothumbsup:
Kim

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Kim OHara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Wed May 16, 2018 10:43 pm

This one is broader than just climate change but is so good that I wanted to share it.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it
George Monbiot

The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, so irrational decisions are made. By costing nature, you ensure that it commands the investment and protection that other forms of capital attract. This thinking is based on a series of extraordinary misconceptions. Even the name reveals a confusion: natural capital is a contradiction in terms. Capital is properly understood as the human-made segment of wealth that is deployed in production to create further financial returns. Concepts such as natural capital, human capital or social capital can be used as metaphors or analogies, though even these are misleading. But the 25-year plan defines natural capital as “the air, water, soil and ecosystems that support all forms of life”. In other words, nature is capital. In reality, natural wealth and human-made capital are neither comparable nor interchangeable. If the soil is washed off the land, we cannot grow crops on a bed of derivatives.

A similar fallacy applies to price. Unless something is redeemable for money, a pound or dollar sign placed in front of it is senseless: price represents an expectation of payment, in accordance with market rates. In pricing a river, a landscape or an ecosystem, either you are lining it up for sale, in which case the exercise is sinister, or you are not, in which case it is meaningless.

Still more deluded is the expectation that we can defend the living world through the mindset that’s destroying it. The notions that nature exists to serve us; that its value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms; and that what can’t be measured does not matter, have proved lethal to the rest of life on Earth. The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them. ...

The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price. This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.

Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... al-capital

:namaste:
Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Sam Vara » Thu May 17, 2018 6:11 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:43 pm
This one is broader than just climate change but is so good that I wanted to share it.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it
George Monbiot

The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, so irrational decisions are made. By costing nature, you ensure that it commands the investment and protection that other forms of capital attract. This thinking is based on a series of extraordinary misconceptions. Even the name reveals a confusion: natural capital is a contradiction in terms. Capital is properly understood as the human-made segment of wealth that is deployed in production to create further financial returns. Concepts such as natural capital, human capital or social capital can be used as metaphors or analogies, though even these are misleading. But the 25-year plan defines natural capital as “the air, water, soil and ecosystems that support all forms of life”. In other words, nature is capital. In reality, natural wealth and human-made capital are neither comparable nor interchangeable. If the soil is washed off the land, we cannot grow crops on a bed of derivatives.

A similar fallacy applies to price. Unless something is redeemable for money, a pound or dollar sign placed in front of it is senseless: price represents an expectation of payment, in accordance with market rates. In pricing a river, a landscape or an ecosystem, either you are lining it up for sale, in which case the exercise is sinister, or you are not, in which case it is meaningless.

Still more deluded is the expectation that we can defend the living world through the mindset that’s destroying it. The notions that nature exists to serve us; that its value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms; and that what can’t be measured does not matter, have proved lethal to the rest of life on Earth. The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them. ...

The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price. This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.

Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... al-capital

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, it's a good article. It's a pity though that Monbiot does not mention two of the main pressures which are rapidly destroying the countryside in the UK (particularly the south) due to rapid building of housing and infrastructure. The first is massive immigration, and the second is the aspiration of many young people to "get a foot on the property ladder" by acquiring their own home. The Guardian caters to a demographic who are more than usually keen on both these policies. It often features articles urging the rapid building of new homes - including the trashing of the once-sacrosanct "Green Belt" land - to meet the demand of young aspiring home-owners; and immigration policies ranging from "business as usual", amnesties for illegal immigrants, and "open borders". Rarely do we see any acknowledgement that increased housing development might have something to do with the loss of wildlife and open spaces and declining mental health.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Wed May 23, 2018 6:18 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 6:11 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:43 pm
This one is broader than just climate change but is so good that I wanted to share it.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it
George Monbiot

The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, ...
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... al-capital

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, it's a good article. It's a pity though that Monbiot does not mention two of the main pressures which are rapidly destroying the countryside in the UK (particularly the south) due to rapid building of housing and infrastructure. The first is massive immigration, and the second is the aspiration of many young people to "get a foot on the property ladder" by acquiring their own home. The Guardian caters to a demographic who are more than usually keen on both these policies. It often features articles urging the rapid building of new homes - including the trashing of the once-sacrosanct "Green Belt" land - to meet the demand of young aspiring home-owners; and immigration policies ranging from "business as usual", amnesties for illegal immigrants, and "open borders". Rarely do we see any acknowledgement that increased housing development might have something to do with the loss of wildlife and open spaces and declining mental health.
You're right, of course, but it's an issue which very quickly leads to a problem no-one wants to tackle, i.e., population growth. The two big engines driving us to global environmental collapse are population growth and consumerism. Tackling the first takes us into eugenics and one-chid policies, and tackling the second "risks economic collapse" so we can't consider that, either. :thinking:
But we will have to, some time.

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Kim

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Kim OHara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Wed May 23, 2018 6:21 am

Wonderful essay from Bhikkhu Bodhi in Tricycle -
The Need of the Hour

A new vision and scale of values are necessary measures for safeguarding our world.

It’s hardly a secret that human recklessness is reaching a critical mass, threatening not only our collective sanity but even our long-term survival. Ever more powerful and impersonal weaponry, endless warfare, super-quick changes in technology, a volatile global economy, the widening gap between the ultrarich and everyone else, climate disasters, species extinction, and ecological devastation: these crises are escalating out of control, and even what was once the most idyllic South Pacific island offers no escape. We’ve got to find ways to put our house in order, and we’ve got to do so fast; otherwise the rapid descent of our civilization towards collapse seems unavoidable.

The critical problems that loom over us—economic, political, and ecological—can be dealt with in either of two ways. One is the symptomatic approach favored by policy wonks and conventional liberal politicians, who view each problem as distinct and propose tackling them through more finely tuned policies. The other approach is holistic. It looks at these problems as interwoven and mutually reinforcing, seeing them as objectifications of our subjective propensities mirroring back to us the distorted ways we relate to ourselves, other people, and the natural world. From this angle, any effective solution requires that we make fundamental changes in ourselves—in our views, attitudes, and intentions. ...
It's not new but it's even more relevant now that when it was published.

:reading:
https://tricycle.org/magazine/need-hour/
:meditate:

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Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 23, 2018 8:04 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 6:18 am

You're right, of course, but it's an issue which very quickly leads to a problem no-one wants to tackle, i.e., population growth. The two big engines driving us to global environmental collapse are population growth and consumerism. Tackling the first takes us into eugenics and one-chid policies, and tackling the second "risks economic collapse" so we can't consider that, either. :thinking:
But we will have to, some time.

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, I absolutely agree. I very naively put what faith I have in education - especially education for women - to help solve the first problem, as education and liberation from agrarian economies does bring down the birth rate voluntarily, without need for draconian top-down solutions. And as for the second, my hopes are even more naive: I just hope there is some type of alternative to mass consumerism that does not risk the whole system suddenly crashing, and which is sufficiently palatable to billions of people to obviate war and violence.

It is, I'm afraid, all above my pay grade, but I recognise the nature of the looming disaster.

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Bundokji
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Bundokji » Wed May 23, 2018 8:18 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:04 am
Yes, I absolutely agree. I very naively put what faith I have in education - especially education for women - to help solve the first problem, as education and liberation from agrarian economies does bring down the birth rate voluntarily, without need for draconian top-down solutions. And as for the second, my hopes are even more naive: I just hope there is some type of alternative to mass consumerism that does not risk the whole system suddenly crashing, and which is sufficiently palatable to billions of people to obviate war and violence.

It is, I'm afraid, all above my pay grade, but I recognise the nature of the looming disaster.
I think the focus should be on the first problem. It is not only education, but the type of education that is necessary to solve the problem
The development of the intellect will at last extinguish the will to reproduce, and will at last achieve the extinction of the race. Nothing could form a finer denouement to the insane tragedy of the restless will. Why should the curtain that has just fallen on defeat and death, always rise again upon a new life, a new struggle, and a new defeat? How long shall we be lured into this much ado about nothing, this endless pain that leads only to a painful end? When shall we have the courage to fling defiance into the face of the will? To tell it that the loveliness of life is a lie and that the greatest boon of all is death. – Arthur Schopenhauer
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 23, 2018 8:30 am

Bundokji wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:18 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:04 am
Yes, I absolutely agree. I very naively put what faith I have in education - especially education for women - to help solve the first problem, as education and liberation from agrarian economies does bring down the birth rate voluntarily, without need for draconian top-down solutions. And as for the second, my hopes are even more naive: I just hope there is some type of alternative to mass consumerism that does not risk the whole system suddenly crashing, and which is sufficiently palatable to billions of people to obviate war and violence.

It is, I'm afraid, all above my pay grade, but I recognise the nature of the looming disaster.
I think the focus should be on the first problem. It is not only education, but the type of education that is necessary to solve the problem
The development of the intellect will at last extinguish the will to reproduce, and will at last achieve the extinction of the race. Nothing could form a finer denouement to the insane tragedy of the restless will. Why should the curtain that has just fallen on defeat and death, always rise again upon a new life, a new struggle, and a new defeat? How long shall we be lured into this much ado about nothing, this endless pain that leads only to a painful end? When shall we have the courage to fling defiance into the face of the will? To tell it that the loveliness of life is a lie and that the greatest boon of all is death. – Arthur Schopenhauer
Blimey! I was thinking more along the lines of educating young women so as to liberate them from oppressive ideologies and to access as-yet-untapped mental resources for the solution of problems and their own personal fulfillment. The birth rate comes down quite nicely when this happens, and women start to find paid employment and find fewer children a more appealing option.

I used to really love Schopenhauer when he was virtually unknown in Western academia. I always told myself that I would follow his instructions to read Die Welt als... at least twice, and always wondered when I would get the time to do the second round. Now I'm happy to have relinquished that desire. If I meet him in heaven, I'm going to give him a big hug and tell him my favourite jokes...

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Bundokji
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Bundokji » Wed May 23, 2018 8:42 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:30 am
Blimey! I was thinking more along the lines of educating young women so as to liberate them from oppressive ideologies and to access as-yet-untapped mental resources for the solution of problems and their own personal fulfillment. The birth rate comes down quite nicely when this happens, and women start to find paid employment and find fewer children a more appealing option.

I used to really love Schopenhauer when he was virtually unknown in Western academia. I always told myself that I would follow his instructions to read Die Welt als... at least twice, and always wondered when I would get the time to do the second round. Now I'm happy to have relinquished that desire. If I meet him in heaven, I'm going to give him a big hug and tell him my favourite jokes...
What makes Schopenhauer appealing to me is that he does not seem so compromising when it comes to solutions. Believing in solutions (other than extinguishing the will) requires optimism Schopenhauer did not seem to have.

When i look at the big picture, i see how each solution brings problems of its own. The state of humanity as we came to experience it is the outcome/by product of all the solutions people before us came up with.

I would love to imagine Schopenhauer in heaven, but find it difficult to do so. Hell is his natural abode, i guess :tongue:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 23, 2018 10:45 am

Bundokji wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:42 am
I would love to imagine Schopenhauer in heaven, but find it difficult to do so. Hell is his natural abode, i guess :tongue:
Yes, you're right! I'd send him to heaven as a punishment...

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Kim OHara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Wed May 23, 2018 9:38 pm

Agreed - Schopenhauer was a miserable bloke. His philosophy was therefore wrong. We know that as Buddhists. But can we now get ...
:focus:

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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Kim OHara » Thu May 24, 2018 2:45 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 8:04 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 6:18 am

You're right, of course, but it's an issue which very quickly leads to a problem no-one wants to tackle, i.e., population growth. The two big engines driving us to global environmental collapse are population growth and consumerism. Tackling the first takes us into eugenics and one-chid policies, and tackling the second "risks economic collapse" so we can't consider that, either. :thinking:
But we will have to, some time.

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, I absolutely agree. I very naively put what faith I have in education - especially education for women - to help solve the first problem, as education and liberation from agrarian economies does bring down the birth rate voluntarily, without need for draconian top-down solutions. And as for the second, my hopes are even more naive: I just hope there is some type of alternative to mass consumerism that does not risk the whole system suddenly crashing, and which is sufficiently palatable to billions of people to obviate war and violence.

It is, I'm afraid, all above my pay grade, but I recognise the nature of the looming disaster.
Here's one of the elements of a shift away from consumerism, at least -
David Klein founded Perth's first Buy Nothing group in early 2016 as a way to solve a few problems after moving house, but it has become so much more.

"I had just moved, got rid of some things, needed some things, didn't know any of my neighbours yet, and that was right around the time I heard about the international Buy Nothing project," Mr Klein said.

He set up a Facebook group for people in his suburb to offer things they no longer wanted free to people in the area.

The idea took off and there are now 110 groups with 55,000 members throughout Western Australia. ...

He estimates the WA groups have saved millions of items from going to landfill.

"Last time I calculated it, our group had given away about 25,000 items," he said.

"Talking to another group, they were averaging 250 items a day — that is 70,000 a year.

In Buy Nothing groups, items are offered for free to group members. (Supplied: Buy Nothing Watson/Dickson)
"I think you could conservatively say that 2 million items have been saved from landfill, and it could be as high as 5 million." ...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-24/w ... nvironment

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Kim

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Sam Vara
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Sam Vara » Thu May 24, 2018 8:06 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 2:45 am
...
Yes, I used Freecycle, which is quite well known in the UK and has various branches worldwide. It's depressing, though, to consider this alongside the frenzy of buying brand new shiny stuff which completely dwarfs it. Massive cultural change is needed.

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Fri May 25, 2018 8:44 pm

The quote below expresses a Right view ... but the practice is missing.

If only more western Buddhist "leaders" on climate change were less reckless in their one sided political approach.
I agree that awareness of our subjective propensities is the wise approach. But without a more politically, ideologically and culturally diverse and informed conversation it's very difficult to see our own blind spots and have our subjective propensities mirrored back to us. Buddhism needs honest brokers but currently it is dominated by advocates and stealth advocates.
That's my public policy studies 101 perspective.
It’s hardly a secret that human recklessness is reaching a critical mass, threatening not only our collective sanity but even our long-term survival.

... The other approach is holistic. It looks at these problems as interwoven and mutually reinforcing, seeing them as objectifications of our subjective propensities mirroring back to us the distorted ways we relate to ourselves, other people, and the natural world. From this angle, any effective solution requires that we make fundamental changes in ourselves—in our views, attitudes, and intentions. ...
---------------------
FYI: Honest brokering is best done in teams. As mis-informed as I judge many (but hardly all) Kim's opinions to be, Kim's and my posts taken together are a better guide to Buddhists than mine alone.

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: Changes in attitudes towards global warming

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Fri May 25, 2018 9:17 pm

The passage below is a red-herring, a straw man.

My sense is most or nearly all economists, including conservative encomists, would object to the notion that they hold the "notion that natures ... value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms and that what can’t be measured does not matter".
Economist and thinking people are mindful that the cash value can be imputed as proxy for a hypothetically more holistic measure. Or that the cash value is not fixed or sacred but done for the sake of a practical purpose. That is all. A recognized imperfect measure. Economists do this work with their eyes open. And they just as " motivated by love for the living planet" as the next sentient being. This practice does not turn one into a mindless robot. Sometimes quite the opposite in my experience.

To use a dharma simile, Monbiot's argument seems to stand in denial of the possibility that other people are at least as capable as he of leaving the raft behind on the beach once we have reached the far shore. Or that (gag) economists might actually love and cherish nature as much as you George.

Underlying Monbiot's claim I suspect is the belief that "if you believe that you can put a number value on something then you will next do something horrible" as if there was some necessary and inevitable law of karma driving it. And that is an act of reification just as much as the thing Monbiot criticizes.

Plus it seems to say to economists and many educated, thoughtful and honest people "your thoughts have no value here, shut up, go home".

So Monbiot losses me here. Is he tilting at windmill's with a "intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating" argument?
Of course "The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them". Monbiot it seems is advocating a mental frame that allows him to demonize "the other" and prevents a honest recognition of the mental frames of much of the rest of the world.
The UK government wants to put a price on nature – but that will destroy it
George Monbiot

... Still more deluded is the expectation that we can defend the living world through the mindset that’s destroying it. The notions that nature exists to serve us; that its value consists of the instrumental benefits we can extract; that this value can be measured in cash terms; and that what can’t be measured does not matter, have proved lethal to the rest of life on Earth. The way we name things and think about them – in other words the mental frames we use – helps determine the way we treat them. ...

The natural capital agenda is the definitive expression of our disengagement from the living world. First we lose our wildlife and natural wonders. Then we lose our connections with what remains of life on Earth. Then we lose the words that described what we once knew. Then we call it capital and give it a price. This approach is morally wrong, intellectually vacuous, emotionally alienating and self-defeating.

Those of us who are motivated by love for the living planet should not hesitate to say so. Never underestimate the power of intrinsic values. They inspire every struggle for a better world.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... al-capital

------------------------------------------
A couple of commenters recognize the, um "value" of value. These comments IMO are a long way from being vacuous.
It makes no difference if you attach a price tag or not. The price is an implicit fact, reflecting what we actually do.
People can then decide whether they want to up the price or not - no more hiding behind preaching ecology but not doing anything in nature's cause.
You are saying that because you can't calculate the price with any precision, you shouldn't do it at all. I wouldn't give up that easily.
"The government argues that without a price, the living world is accorded no value, so irrational decisions are made. "

Here's where you go wrong. It's not that it has no value, it's that you cannot easily quantify the value. That's pretty standard economic thought. The reason natural habitats are often damaged, after all, is that there is little apparent cost (but plenty of actual cost) to doing so. What the government (among others) is trying to do is stop that gap by quantifying the value of these habitats so those costs can be imposed.

... I'm a big fan of George's articles, but he seems a bit out of his depth on this one. Particularly in terms of understanding the economic theory behind it.
I have a feeling he explains his thoughts better in an earlier article but in this one he doesn't really begin to explain why this makes things worse.
Nature in general is going to get trashed regardless so what is it about putting a value on it that makes it more likely rather than less that an area of particular value will be sold off?
Nonetheless the natural and human worlds have to rub along together, and if natural capital is a way of ensuring some heed is taken it's a useful tool.

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