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The economics of nature & poverty

We do not currently FIT our planet

We use the equivalent of 1.6 planets-worth of Nature to provide the resources we consume and to process the waste we produce.  Human impact on Nature (ecosystems and biodiversity) results in loss of her services.  And degraded ecosystems are almost always irrecoverable.  Earth is sending us clear signals that we are spending more than Nature’s ecological budget.

We should PAY for Nature as we GO

Protecting enough of nature’s wild habitats, wild animals and plants, pollinators, etc. against environmental drivers such as habitat loss, pollution, climate change, etc. is critical.


Sustainability is the capacity of our human society to live indefinitely within Earth’s natural cycles [].


People and planet CAN live alongside profit

The Economics of Ecosystem Services & Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative is helping us to make a business case for living within Nature’s ecological budget.  It provides tools for countries, companies, communities and individuals to make visible the value of what we use for ‘free’.  TEEB’s resources include many useful examples.

There is NO business case for maintaining poverty

50-90% of the household budget of the very poorest relies on Nature’s ecosystem services.


On the 25th September 2015 the UN announced their boldest goal ever: To eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, by 2030.  Looking at the realities of extremely poor people, the goal seems unrealistic to many educated people because their worldview is lagging 40 yrs behind reality.


Up-to-date statistics show that recent global progress is ‘possibly the greatest story in all of human history’ - development has accelerated in the last 20 years.


In 2000, the UN issued the Millennium Development Goals for the next 15 years. The results of these goals have changed lives worldwide. 43 million more children now attend school, over two billion people got access to clean drinking water, and extreme poverty has been halved!


Ending extreme poverty IS possible

The facts now show that if we can change people’s mindsets about extreme poverty, it is a game changer for the world. 


By raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally friendly way, population growth will stop at 9B consumers in 2050.

A better planet through SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Living well and within the means of Nature is not out of our reach.  Our world is truly an extraordinary place but it needs a helping hand in order to save us!  The greatest opportunities for improving sustainability lie in four areas: population, food, energy and cities.


We have a choice now to balance how many people use Nature with how people use Nature.  To do this we need to innovate and collaborate towards a balance between:

  • Food production, climate change and degrading Nature.

  • Planet, people and profit – the so-called ‘Triple Bottom Line’.


Fortunately, we are incredibly innovative and successful collaborators.

Johan Rockström
Stockholm Resilience Centre

Video - 9 Planetary Boundaries

18 minutes

Thomas Barker, Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Ecosystem Services Yale lecture

[Very informative video, 54 minutes]


Pavan Sukhdev,

Hans Rosling,

11 minutes

58 minutes

Kate Raworth​, Economist

18 minutes

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