I'm always depressed listening to conservationists standing up for the species they're working for on an economic basis. Apparently people respond better to the threat to "pollination services" that would ensue if bees disappeared than the threat of their disappearance itself. Really odd. The last thing that would worry me about a world without bees would be the cost of my weekly food shop.
Biodiversity offsetting has encouraged this kind of exercise, with some depressingly uninformed results - how can you offset a medieval broad leafed woodland or meadow? It's a nonsensical as trying to offset the destruction of York Minster (opened 637 AD, according to the Google review page) by knocking up a couple of Richard Rogers' office blocks...
I used to support trying to put a value on nature, insofar as it might get people to stop and think about what benefits they get from it. My caveat was that the system to do that had to work properly. In hindsight I should have known that it can't, and would inevitably be incompetently run or hijacked by commercial interests.
Why do we feel we have to put a price on nature? Because people have lost their connection with it. Perhaps increased urbanization and life style changes are to blame, but most folk don't get how nature in their back gardens works, let alone on a bigger scale. They don't understand the benefits it can bring them. Understanding the historical context and broader value of nature is beyond government too, apparently. This is bizarre. You would think it would be a vote winner and save us more than a few quid in the longer term too. Apparently people don't care.
It will be worth seeing how blogger and conservationist Miles King
gets on with his crusade to tackle this sort of thing. Miles really knows his stuff and knows his way around the system. I hope he makes some waves.
Perhaps I should give him the lovely book
I was given for Christmas by way of encouragement, featuring local artist James Lynch and quotes from Edward Thomas. James's tempura landscapes are achingly beautiful, and it was a great joy to rediscover Edward Thomas. The white heat and deep joy from their connection with this ancient landscape fizzles and crackles off the pages. What price that?