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Commodifying and financializing nature

Posted by Peter Donovan 1 year, 8 months ago in policy and framing /

The rush continues to commodify soil carbon or other "ecosystem services" and trade these on some kind of markets. Are we asking the wrong questions? These two excellent videos suggest that we are.

Divide and rule by Vandana Shiva

Banking Nature

See also:

Richard Norgaard's 2009 paper, "Ecosystem services: from eye-opening metaphor to complexity blinder"

Daniela Gabor, The Wall Street Consensus

Abstract: The Wall Street Consensus is an elaborate effort to reorganize development interventions around partnerships with global finance. The Billions to Trillions agenda, the World Bank’s Maximising Finance for Development or the G20’s Infrastructure as an Asset Class all call on international development institutions and governments of poor countries to ‘escort capital’ – institutional investors and the managers of their trillions in assets – into investable development assets. For this, ten policy commandments aim to forge the de-risking state and accelerate the structural transformation of local financial systems towards market-based finance.

Personal note: I have a background in forestry, farm, and ranch work, sheep and cattle herding, Holistic Management, reporting, rangeland monitoring, and community development.

My first effort in sharing what I was learning about ecosystem process and function was reporting on holistic managers in the 1990s (see In 2007 I founded the Soil Carbon Coalition with Abe Collins. The second effort was traveling around the continent for a decade measuring soil carbon change, with open data. I was spread too thin, not a good context for sharing or fostering a shared intelligence on the circle of life. Much of the conversation and buzz about soil carbon quickly turned to the commodification of soil carbon as "offsets" which to me is the wrong question—for both our intentions, and our ability to implement them. (Vandana Shiva observes in the video above that the financialization of nature equals the rape of the earth.) is the third try: can this help locally driven and managed efforts to ask better questions, and engage more people in asking and answering?