If a financial value were placed on the environment, then it would be established as a national and global resource at a time when capitalist markets drive societies. But how to do this is a different matter, argues Veronica Lawrie, a professional ecologist working for a commercial enterprise, the global consultancy Atkins and a member of the Institute of Ecology and Environment Management WM Committee.
In reality, how do you assign a figure to a species, or a habitat, or an ecosystem? What really is the financial value of crop pollination by bees? Is it the sum of the honey, vegetable and fruit market values? Or should we take into account that fact that without bees to pollinate our crops, we will starve within a few years?