Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nature as infrastructure.

I've seen this argument before in slightly different forms. It's an angle that I think should be emphasised more often, especially by environmentalists. It's the perfect bridge between those concerned with protecting the environment and their arch-enemies, the capitalists. It all comes from the very basic premise that if you go back far enough, our entire economy, is dependant on nature, food production, mining, construction, power, everything. And if you want to be able to continue building successful companies that make lots of money, you have to pay attention to the infrastructure. It's been ignored in the past and thus is not in the best of shape. And we all know what happens when you don't maintain the infrastructure we're used to thinking about - you get shitty roads and bridges that fall down, power cuts and failing utilities. We sort of already do it in a very limited sense. Fisheries have quotas, if you don't they get overfished and die, leaving a lot of unemployed fishermen. The fish are part of the structure of the industry, manage them well and they can last and be economically beneficial for many many years. We should be doing the same with the rest of the environment - soil conservation, air quality, water supply.

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