I am a Landscape Architect
18th April 2018

Natural Capital

What is the value of this apple blossom tea bag? 10p! Because it cost me £2 for a pack of 20.

Another question: what is the value of walking through an apple orchard with the blossom out? Hmmm not so easy to work out…

I have recently been learning about something called: Natural Capital…

Accountants and nature?

Natural capital is all about using money to value nature, and this year it has been given lots of backing from our government. The government is putting a price on nature…

Now…. 

if you’re like me, you might think that this is a bit sterile, and something for accountant’s ….

But take a closer look and I think there is something more exciting than what accountants fail to see…

A chance for humans to reconnect back to nature which i think… is priceless!

Data

 

So what is Natural Capital and how do we value nature?

As I understand it accountants collect environmental data then calculate its value…. For instance in the orchard they don’t just calculate the apple blossom tea but

  • …the apple harvest, 
  • the value it puts on neighboring houses and the
  • value it has for recreation etc.

And the good news is that the accountant’s data shows us that places with lots of nature is worth more than places without…

SOUNDS GREAT!

But wait, one question I have yet to get to the bottom of is…

Where is the data on the magic of nature… Humans connection with the environment?

Green Capitalism

So, before I get too carried away with the magic of nature, let us talk about the government: this year the government has released something called the 25 year plan and has an emphasis on Natural Capital….

Politicians are going green, environment issues are going mainstream, … and Natural Capital has a promising future…

Here’s an example for you….

The city council in Washington DC used Natural Capital accounting to pay for their city drainage…

Like many cities, the water and sewage goes underground into big concrete pipes which goes into the sea, and…

  • Kills wildlife,
  • causes floods,
  • and causes a big headache for the city council…

This was until Goldman Sachs built a $25 millon drainage system above ground in green open spaces. Which has:

  • Improved pollution  
  • improved flooding
  • And created a continuous wildlife network through the city.

Goldman Sachs have created and made money from

  • clean water,
  • flood free housing developments and
  • lots of green recreational spaces…

Thanks to Natural Capital accounting It is a win win.

  • Big companies make big money by saving the planet…
  • city councils have less to worry about……..
  • and we all have more nature in more places!.

WAHEY, SOUNDS GREAT!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

But wait… where does the magic of nature fit in here? Is nature going to be the next victim of the capitalist money system? A capitalist system where we going to lose the magic of nature?

Well, I think no….

And I like the idea that Natural Capital has yet to value the magic of nature… I run an organisation called ‘What Happens Next’…, an environmental project with the vision to create value directly from plants.

We provide resources on how to make things like

  • Apple chutney,
  • Lavender salt bath and
  • lavender tea directly from the garden….

What I like is the idea of celebrating the lavender tea…  And celebrating the magic of nature…. That’s why i called it seed to celebration because it’s all about balancing the

  • value of nature with the
  • magic of nature.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, capitalism is saving the planet… But let us not forget to celebrate the magic of nature.

If I was given a chance I would go Washington DC to council and tell them that what they need to do in their new green space is to

  • grow apple trees
  • And hold an annual called the the festival of drinking apple blossom tea.
  • They can sell packs of blossom tea but celebrating nature is of course for free….

Because I think however much we put a value on nature, celebrating the magic of nature is priceless..

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