Putting a price on nature would be disastrous

Plans to apply market values to forests and waterways to protect them could lead to the destruction of everything nature gives us
By Nick Dearden, originally appeared on the Guardian on 27/11/2013
A spoof ‘Great Nature Sale’ protest at the Edinburgh meeting of the World Forum on Natural Capital. Photograph: Colin Hattersley

As UN climate negotiations rumbled on in Warsaw, big business came together with conservation groups in Edinburgh last week at the inaugural World Forum on Natural Capital to put a price on nature.

The idea goes back to the Rio+20 conference in 2012, when a group of investorsdrafted the natural capital declaration. It argues that if we price everything nature gives us (wildlife, plants, forests, waterways, pollination, you name it), companies would think twice before destroying them.

‘Managing the Risks’ event at the Scottish Parliament

eveLast year at the Forum on Natural Commons there was a call from people in Scotland to resist the financialisation of nature.

Now the Scottish Parliament is listening at this event:

Natural Capital – Managing the Risks
The Scottish Parliament
Tuesday 28 January 6-8pm

Patrick Harvie MSP and Jamie Hepburn MSP are jointly hosting the event which they hope will be an open and frank discussion on the topic of natural capital involving a wide range of interested parties including MSPs, the business community and NGOs.

Jonathan Hughes (Scottish Wildlife Trust and IUCN Councillor) and Nick Dearden (World Development Movement) will be debating some of the key issues, followed by questions and discussion from the floor.

This event is free but registration is strictly mandatory. You can register by clicking here. You are advised to arrive 30 minutes early to give time to register and complete any security checks required.

Scottish Parliament action: Nature not for Sale

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A motion has been proposed to the Scottish Parliament by MSP Patrick Harvie concerned that putting a price on the environment is the first step towards turning it into a commodity to be traded on financial markets.

We want to make the case to the Scottish Parliament that turning wildlife, forests, mountains and soil into commodities won’t protect nature.

If you live in Scotland you can write to your MSP now by using the e-action on the WDM website by clicking here.

Message from Edinburgh to Warsaw

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A big thank you to everyone who took part in last night’s Forum on Natural Commons. We had a fantastic evening joined by Brazilian activist Camila Moreno and our keynote speakers from around the UK and shared food and ideas.

At the end of the evening we gathered together to send a message of solidarity from Scotland to activists in Warsaw defending nature at the the UN climate talks.

Solidarity with Edinburgh from La Paz, Bolivia

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Activists in La Paz took action in solidarity with us in Edinburgh to mark the Forum on Natural Commons.

They have been taking part in a conference on “Commons and new civilisatory paradigms” this week and took time out of their discussions on Wednesday to bring us a message of solidarity. You can read more about their work on their Facebook page.

We hope to share photos and talks from tonight’s Forum event in Scotland over the next few days.  Stay in the discussion at #notforsale.