Part Three of The Current
Natural Capital - Paul Martin
The slap-happy beaver, for centuries a centrepiece of Canadian economic growth. Today, many people consider them pests because of the wetlands they help create. But it turns out, those wetlands may have real value.
So once again, the beaver may be a valuable contributor to the economy. We heard from Glynnis Hood, an associate professor of Environmental Science at the University of Alberta's Augustana Campus and the author of The Beaver Manifesto.
Increasingly, economists are considering putting nature on the balance sheet ... a concept called natural capital. On one side of the ledger, ecosystems perform invaluable services like flood control, pollination, carbon sequestration and water purification.
One estimate suggests insect pollination is worth hundreds of billions of dollars globally. The economic value of the Canadian boreal forest has been pegged at 700 billion dollars annually ... just by being there. On the other side of the ledger, the world's top 3,000 companies do 2.2 trillion dollars in environmental damage a year according to one estimate .
Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has become a major proponent of bringing natural capital on to the national accounts. He joined us from his office in Montreal.
Other segments from today's show: