Economists are pussies. They ignore 66% of the problem because it’s ‘too hard’.

When humans go out to get busy it’s ‘economics’, but when non-humans do it it’s ‘ecology’. Why? Because it’s fucking hard to work out how to value tigers and trees and mouse poo. But that’s not stopped some clever people having a crack. You have to make some choices like “we’re only going to value it in resource terms to human beings” and ignore whatever value things might have in their own right (tigers are a lot fucking cooler to have around as tigers than as some ground up paste on the end of a Chinese penis), but if you work hard it IS possible to do the sums.

Global GNP is about US$18 trillion. The products and services of the planet are about US$33 trillion. That’s twice as important as everything we do.

Ecosystem services Value (trillion $US)
Soil formation 17.1
Recreation 3.0
Nutrient cycling 2.3
Water regulation and supply 2.3
Climate regulation (temperature and precipitation) 1.8
Habitat 1.4
Flood and storm protection 1.1
Food and raw materials production 0.8
Genetic resources 0.8
Atmospheric gas balance 0.7
Pollination 0.4
All other services 1.6
Total value of ecosystem services 33.3

Just check out the value of soil formation. That’s … mind blowing. (And we’re wasting sooooooo much topsoil to erosion at the moment: 4 tons per year per person.)


And it’s a fucking Monday.

Source: World Resources Institute, adapted from R. Costanza et al., “The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital,” Nature, Vol. 387 (1997), p. 256, Table 2.