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What Is Nature Worth?

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What is nature worth?

Well, lots. After all, nature provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the habitat we live in.

But have you ever noticed how little credit we give nature for all that hard work?  We're happy to reap the rewards when it's convenient for us. But if nature gets in our way, watch out. Plans to fill wetlands, develop shoreline, or turn forests to farmland take into account the monetary value of the benefits to be gained, but they rarely fully consider the value of nature's services lost in the process.

The result: We end up having to get by without - or pay to artificially provide - services nature formerly performed for "free": purifying water or air, protecting shorelines from erosion, reducing risk of floods, and lots more.

What can we do about it? This three-minute video offers a three-step solution. Check it out. Then pass it along to your friends, your family, the people you know who make decisions about protecting nature's services - or not.

"Big Question: What Is Nature Worth?" was inspired by the Natural Capital Project, a partnership among Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Minnesota and the World Wildlife Fund. It's the third installment of IonE's popular Big Question series.

If you like it, you can view the first two, titled "Big Question: Feast or Famine?" and "Big Question: Is Earth Past the Tipping Point?", here: http://www.youtube.com/user/UMNIonE

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  The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and not necessarily
  of the Institute on the Environment/University of Minnesota.