Photograph: © SAF
For decades campaigners have fought for the protection of nature for its own sake, and while there has been notable progress, the overall trends have not been encouraging. It seems that the moral argument has gained insufficient traction, and that in the absence of new frames continuing population and economic growth will cause more damage.
One source of hope comes from the growing realisation that nature is essential for economic development. The message is clear: without nature the economy is nothing.
By appreciating that nature is vital for economics, and has measurable tangible financial values, it (might) be possible to get the attention of people who have at best hitherto regarded nature a supplier of resources, or worse still an economically costly distraction that gets in the way of economic ‘growth’. Making the moral case in the face of such beliefs won’t work. If, on the other hand, such scepticism can be met with economically compelling logic, then we might get a bit further…