Getting the Price Right: Paying for Ecosystem Services Recognizes the Payback That These Life-Supporting Processes Offer
Olmsted, Paige, Alternatives Journal
IMAGINE a solar-powered machine that filters water, moderates air temperature and regulates the climate. Some would call it an amazing feat of engineering genius. Most people call it a tree.
Humans have a history of overlooking the many ways by which nature supports us. In North America, pollinators are responsible for one in every three mouthfuls of food, yet we are allowing habitat decline and pesticide use to devastate their numbers. Ten per cent of the world's fish catch comes from coral reefs, yet overfishing, pollution and sedimentation have destroyed or degraded one-third of these underwater gardens.
When it comes to sustaining biodiversity, our track record is not very good.
By 2010, the International Year of Biological Diversity, we were to have seen a significant reduction in global rates of biodiversity loss. This target was adopted in 2002 by the signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). But there has been little progress, and CBD officials concede that "most of the direct drivers of biodiversity loss are projected to remain constant or to increase in the near future."
A substantial barrier to progress has been pervasive ignorance of our economic, social and biophysical dependence on biodiversity. If there is any light on the biodiversity horizon, it is that now people seem to better understand that biodiversity is crucial to our well-being.
More often than not, biodiversity is considered to be a matter of protecting endangered species, especially polar bears, whooping cranes and other media darlings. This is how diversity is treated in the best-known monitoring …
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Publication information: Article title: Getting the Price Right: Paying for Ecosystem Services Recognizes the Payback That These Life-Supporting Processes Offer. Contributors: Olmsted, Paige - Author. Magazine title: Alternatives Journal. Volume: 36. Issue: 6 Publication date: November 2010. Page number: 14+. © 1998 Alternatives, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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