English: Natural world The inscription says it all
English: Natural world The inscription says it all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following on from our exploration of how we experience nature and how scientific thought frames the natural world, we turn on the 19th of March in our regular Cafe slot (8.00pm in the Cafe Bar at the Gate) to examine the theme of ‘Valuing Nature’.

In recent years, policymakers and economists have begun to show a great deal of interest in translating the ‘support services’ provided by the natural world to human societies into terms that economic decision-making can make sense of. One of the long-standing complaints of environmental campaigners has been that economics tends to operate apart from nature, and fails to recognise that economics and societies are embedded within the natural world. What if the value of the natural world were therefore to be recognised by translating it into financial terms, as the ecological economist Robert Costanza and colleagues famously attempted in 1997. In the words of the former Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, ‘if you treasure it, measure it.

This ‘ecosystem services‘ approach informs, here in Wales, WAG’s National Environment Framework and Living Wales programme. But how successful is such an approach likely to be, and is it right to value nature in this way? In this Cafe, two experts, from the biological sciences and ecological economics/philosophy examine the implications of an ecosystem services approach to valuing nature.

Isabelle Durance oversees research on resilience at the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University. Dr Paul Anderson is based in the School of Law at Warwick University.

The Twitter hashtag for this Cafe is #cpcnature.

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