UN ecosystem services: visually deconstructed

The Princes Foundation ‘Accounting for Sustainability’ project published an image that inverts the hierarchy of the relationship between the economy and ecology in a particularly unhelpful manner Here the global gross domestic product (GGDP) is illustrated as $63,000bn and the value provided by the Earth to the global economy is $50,800bn (Accounting for Sustainability, 2012). These numbers misrepresent reality. We will not have an economy without stable ecological system in which the economy is based and so it is illogical to value ecosystem services as less than total GGDP.

“None of the [below] should be read to imply that scientists, ecological economists or even environmental economists and those working at or collaboration with the UN are anything but sincere in their intentions use the UN‟s GEP to protect the environment. Unfortunately, their analysis is flawed.”

“To press non-economic values into the framework of the economic Calculus… it is a procedure by which the higher is reduced to the level of the lower and the priceless is given a price. It can therefore never serve to clarify the situation and lead to an enlightened decision. All it can do is lead to self-deception or the deception of others; for to undertake to measure the immeasurable is absurd and constitutes but an elaborate method of moving from preconceived notions to foregone conclusions…The logical absurdity, however, is not the greatest fault of the undertaking: what is worse, and destructive of civilisation, is the pretence that everything has a price or, in other words, that money is the highest of all values.” (E.F. Schumaher)

Sources:

Article http://www.academia.edu/3294072/Re-Imaging_the_Commons_as_The_Green_Economy

Inforgraphics http://ecolabsblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/new-posters-on-the-green-economy/

Author – Dr. Joanna Boehnert http://ecolabsblog.wordpress.com/about/

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