By Ben Cohen
Forget the credit crunch, the destruction of our natural environment is far more costly, says George Monbiot:
On Friday, Pavan Sukhdev, the Deutsche Bank economist leading a
European study on ecosystems, reported that we are losing natural
capital worth between $2 trillion and $5 trillion every year, as a
result of deforestation alone(1). The losses incurred so far by the
financial sector amount to between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion.
Sukhdev arrived at his figure by estimating the value of the services -
such as locking up carbon and providing freshwater - that forests
perform, and calculating the cost of either replacing them or living
without them. The credit crunch is petty when compared to the nature
It's easy to forget about environmental issues when the economy is on the brink of collapse, but Monbiot reminds us that the two are not mutually exclusive:
The two crises feed each other. As a result of Iceland’s financial
collapse, it is now contemplating joining the European Union, which
means surrendering its fishing grounds to the Common Fisheries Policy.
Already the prime minister Geir Haarde has suggested that his
countrymen concentrate on exploiting the ocean(5). The economic
disaster will cause an ecological disaster.