Friday, May 30, 2008

Environmental damage costs $4.8 trillion annually

Mongabay: Environmental damage and biodiversity loss in forest ecosystems costs 2.1 to 4.8 trillion dollars per year, according to a report released Thursday at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Bonn, Germany. The report, entitled "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" and commissioned by the European Union and the German government, attaches a monetary value to services provided by species and ecosystems. The report says these services are often undervalued by humanity.

"Nature provides human society with a vast diversity of benefits such as food, fibres, fuel, clean water, healthy soil, protection from floods, protection from soil erosion, medicines, storing carbon (important in the fight against climate change) and many more," the report stated. "Though our well being is totally dependent upon these "ecosystem services" they are predominantly public goods with no markets and no prices, so they often are not detected by our current economic compass. As a result, due to the pressures coming from population growth, changing diets, urbanization and also climate change, biodiversity is declining, our ecosystems are being continuously degraded and we, in turn, are suffering the consequences."…

This is the price tag of the lotus root, and "不淮折断" means "Do not break" in simplified Chinese, because the vegetable is easily broken. Photo copyright © 2006 Mai-Linh Đoàn, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

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