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1.1.2 Nature’s worth

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We need to reframe the conservation objective and look at the issues from a different perspective, integrating nature into our policy making and the every-day trade-offs society has to make.

This decline raises questions about the perceptions we -the human society- have of nature, and what nature is worth to us. There are two perspectives that support the claims for nature conservation:

  • should we care for nature for its intrinsic value alone?
  • or should we protect and preserve nature - and the services it provides – because it is at the core of human well-being and development?

However, the argument of conserving nature for its intrinsic value cannot compete against economic arguments in the social debate.

In this context, it is essential to develop approaches that address the interdependencies between nature and society and which help interpret the complexity of these social-ecological systems. Such approaches should help distance decision making from short-term and individual gain policies and set in perspective the social debate over trade-offs. In doing so, this ecosystem services approach could help devise more efficient, robust, shared and legitimate environmental policies.

1 1 2 WhatIsNatureWorthIn the multimedia feature "What Is Nature Worth?", the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment offers a three-minute look at what biodiversity loss is really costing us -- and what we can do about it.

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