Nature is precious, more than we can imagine

Uno studio ha provato a calcolare il valore economico di animali, piante e servizi ecosistemici, con risultati sorprendenti.

Plankton, a group of different species of protozoa, algae, bacteria, and eukaryotic organisms, is worth 222 billion dollars, i.e. more than the annual turnover of Apple, Microsoft, or Nestlé.


vita marina
Coral reefs provide protection from storms and support tourism © NOAA


Assuming that price tags are good for objects but not for animals, plants, and mountains, nature cannot be just valued considering mere economic values. However, in a world that often focuses on money, it can be a useful tool to help remind us that nature does have a value, and what might be lost if aspects of it disappear.


For this reason, BBC Earth, network aimed to scientific divulgation, has realised the Earth Index, putting nature’s value in the stock exchange, published in the financial sections of the Wall Street Journal (US); Times (London); Singapore Business Times (Singapore) and the Economic Times (India) putting nature on the stock exchange for the first time.


The index has been calculated in collaboration with the British environmental specialist Tony Juniper, commissioning a scoping study from the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).



Bees’ and other pollinators’ work is worth 106 billion dollars each year


“We scoured the available research and data to find comparable figures to company stock listings and settled on the financial value delivered each year,” said Juniper. “What this unequivocally shows is the major contribution that nature makes to our health, wealth and security.”


Freshwater alone, for instance, is worth the entire global economy. Therefore, according to the Earth Index, the total aggregate value of the water-related services provided by Nature is presented as at equivalent to global GDP, i.e. about $73.48 trillion.


According to the Earth Index, freshwater is worth the total global economy


The value of trees is more than $16 trillion. Forests play an essential role to some 1.6 billion people, which subsistence depends on them. Moreover, trees are our major allies in reducing CO2.


Bees’ and other pollinators’ work, essential to agriculture and other functions, is worth 106 billion dollars, whilst a single colony has an annual value of 141 dollars. What about beavers? One individual of this funny rodent, which we might think it could not influence our lives, annually produces services worth 120,000 dollars, for its contribution to reduce the risks of flooding and improve water conservation.


The study aims to highlight practical and economic advantages deriving from natural resources, in a way that we can better understand the real impact climate change has on the long run on the natural capital.



epa01963348 Demonstrators take part in the protest against climate change in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark, 12 December 2009. Thousands of people demonstrated in the Danish capital on 12 December for action by the UN climate conference to halt global warming. The procession wound its way from the Folketing, the parliament, to the conference site, the massive Bella Center outside the city centre. Up to 100,000 people took part in the largely peaceful protest, organizers said, though police estimated the number at closer to 10,000 when the march got under way. Smaller solidarity demonstrations were held in Greece, Spain, Germany and other countries. EPA/ANDERS DEBEL HANSEN DENMARK OUT
Demonstration against climate change, Copenhagen, 2009 © Anders Debel Hansen/EPA


If the environment was a listed company, brokers (us) would have the right to complain about the senseless natural resource management.

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