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Is protecting nature a key for world economic security?

August 25, 2010

The English newspaper the Guardian published an article that highlights the risk of economic collapse and loss of culture if Britain does not protect the natural world.

The secretary-general of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf said during an interview with the Guardian: “What we are seeing today is a total disaster. No country has met its targets to protect nature. We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. If current levels [of destruction] go on we will reach a tipping point very soon. The future of the planet now depends on governments taking action in the next few years.”

Dr. Djoghlaf warned Britain and other countries not to cut nature protection in the recession. In a reference to expected 40% cuts to Britain’s department of the environment spending, he said: “(…) you may well save a few pounds now but you will lose billions later. Biodiversity is your natural asset. The more you lose it, the more you lose your cultural assets too.”

On another hand, the idea that we have to protect biodiversity for economic reasons, such as highlighted here and in the TEEB report, is very dangerous. The term of “ecosystem services” was introduced to help emphasize importance on nature’s resources for conservation purposes. Now it has derived to the idea that one can now continue to consume, and buy nature to save the planet instead of focusing on encouraging less consumption and more environmentally-friendly behavior.

You can hear Dr. Djoghlaf’s interview and read the  full article from the Guardian here.

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