A new United Nations report out this week has suggested that humanity’s prioritization of short term profits over everything else has caused us to be reckless and damage the environment.
This is something that activists and scientists have been saying for decades, but it’s nice to have the problem being officially recognized.
The report was published by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Ipbes) and includes more than 13,000 references.
The report concluded that humanity will need to value nature if we want to continue to survive on this planet.
This message speaks to what we are trying to build in Regenerative Finance (ReFi). Our natural habitat is our most important and valuable resource, but it gets very little attention in the modern global economy.
A big part of this problem is how the incentive structure works in traditional markets. Nature is mostly valued in terms of individual commodities, which in most cases means that things need to be removed from nature for someone to make money on them.
This of course creates an incentive for people to remove things from nature at excessive levels which threatens our habitat. It doesn’t need to be this way though.
These incentives can be changed, but it will require a new way of doing business. Luckily, we are starting to see the beginning stages of these new economic models with carbon credits and other mechanisms that actually allow nature to create economic value without being destroyed.
Land owners can make money for planting trees instead of cutting them down, farmers can get paid to improve their soil, and people working on innovative solutions to climate change can actually get funding.
There is a line of thinking that nature is priceless and too sacred to be financialized, and while this sounds great, it ends up being counter-productive, because it ultimately ends up becoming financialized in the worst possible ways.
Instead of being treated like it is priceless, nature is treated like it is cheap or even free in our current system. In the future that we are hoping to build, it will be more profitable to protect nature than to destroy it, or extract parts of it to be sold on the market.
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