Thanks to the 160 people who took part in my poll about natural capital last week. THe results are:
60% of voters agreed that natural capital is one of a number of approaches to take, and believe that a natural capital approach can work together with other approaches (such as the ethical arguments for protecting nature). I could christen this the Juniper stance.
34% believed that the natural capital approach is the wrong path to go down, and we should stick to the ethical argument. I could christen this the Monbiot stance.
4% believed that the economic approach was the only one which is going to work.
and 2% were very honest and voted “don’t know”.
of course this is a just a straw poll and doesn’t tell us how the population at large would vote. Given what little I know about my readership it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions, other than this: I think my readership is well informed about environmental issues, otherwise they would not have found their way to reading me; or would not have stayed long enough to think about voting in the poll, so it’s an engaged informed readership.
And of course given what I have been writing on natural capital over the last week (and longer) it also shows that more than half of you don’t agree with me! Thanks for continuing to read…
What I think it does show is that within the conservation industry, and perhaps more widely amongst the engaged and informed conservation movement, there is general support for using a range of arguments to protect nature, including the economic and the ethical.
But it’s also clear that a sizeable minority do not accept that this is possible, and take the Monbiot stance, that the economic argument will drive out the ethical one, as one Frame becomes dominant over the others.
I aim to repeat the survey next year using survey monkey, to gather a bit more information about the voters and also explore in more depth some of the knotty issues.
Never thought I’d be in a ‘Monbiot’ camp – just an ageing hippy!
My view is that you can harmonise the over simplified dialectic through an understanding of the law of rent and Georgist economic theory. So the fundamental issue is It’s not how nature is valued but who it belongs to and who profits from ecosystem service destruction. All nature should belong to us all and thus it’s use and abuse taxed. This makes wise use of natural resources in an economically efficient way, with no drag on the green economy and benefits the poorest (instead of the richest). It does not even matter if we value it incorrectly as all the outcomes will be positive. By giving money from general taxation to ‘owners’ of ecosystem services there are many perverse incentives, economic problems and errors in valuation will have serious negative effects. Also there will never be enough government money to ‘save nature’. But shifting taxiation to Land Value Taxes and environmental externalities will have none of these draw backs and only positives (apart from taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor, which the rich will not like) My blog on the issue http://renegadeecologist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-pricing-of-everything-how-can-we.html
thanks very much Peter. I am increasingly interested in LVT and look forward to reading your blog