Adding A Monetary Value to Nature

Nowadays, almost everything, even the essentials of life seems to have a price tag on it.  Water, food, shelter, medicine, all of it costs money.  A lot of what we use requires natural resources to be produced.  When natural resources are harvested, no one is losing money when a tree is chopped down or a field is cleared.  What if we all were losing money, however, when damage to our environment is done.

Costanza’s article tries to put the ways we use our natural resources and the damage that is done to them into an economic perspective.  Some points he mentions include how non natural resources tend to require some form of natural resource to make, so their cost is greater than we realize and that the damage caused to create something can outweigh whatever benefits that creation might have caused.

I think Costanza’s article is well done.  Nowadays, people tend to focus a lot on money and efficiency.  If you can’t put a dollar value to something or people can’t see the immediate benefit, they are very quick to dismiss it.  By putting our natural resources into an economic setting, and discussing the importance of the benefits they do provide, it makes people think twice about the way they treat their environment.

Some questions do remain despite all this.  Where do we draw the line where the damage caused to the environment outweighs the benefits of the products produced?  Are there certain products we could do without that would help our environment?  Do we need to take stronger initiatives to protect our environment, or are we doing enough at the moment?

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