As the World Forum on Natural Capital started this morning in Edinburgh, three rather dodgy looking salespeople turned up with their battered suitcase, offering to do a deal on Scottish natural landmarks.
As the World Forum on Natural Capital started this morning in Edinburgh, three rather dodgy looking salespeople turned up with a battered suitcase, offering to do a deal on Scottish natural landmarks.
Ben Nevis, Loch Ness, the river Tweed and other Scottish icons were for sale - complete with clean air, fresh water and wildlife. And to make things even more enticing, there was the promise of a profit for the buyer if they traded their newly acquired assets on the financial markets. On special offer too were biodiversity offsets, allowing the purchaser to pollute or even totally trash their piece of wilderness guilt free, as for everything that was destroyed something else would be saved, replanted or cleaned up somewhere else in the world. What a deal!
By strange coincidence, both Loch Ness and Ben Nevis were listed on eBay as well. So, if you missed this morning's salesmen, then all is not lost as you may be able to pick up some nature there instead.
Of course this is all just humorous campaigning - but on the dead serious issue of the financialisation of nature. Putting a value on the things that nature provides for free is complex and fraught with difficulties. Expecting the markets to solve the environmental crisis that they were so instrumental in creating is completely mad. Read more about it here.