James Cascio at Worldchanging points us to an article in the CBC about the valuation of Canada’s boreal forest – the vast forest that covers almost 60% of the country. The bottom line – all the timber in Canada, plus hydropower, plus mining under the forest is worth substantially less than the value of the services the forest provides if left intact – C$37.8 billion vs C$93.2 billion.
This kind of economic reasoning is still difficult for some people to get their heads around, but because it uses hard, economic language and is based in real scientific study, it’s a fantastic way to begin explaining it to people who otherwise view environmental preservation as not related to the economy. The best quote from the article comes from professor David Shindler of the University of Alberta:
The concept is rather like being given a Mercedes Benz, told to go drive it, and we do – but we never service it or maintain it or anything,” he said. “That’s sort of what we’re doing with the boreal forest.