Sunday, June 13, 2010

163 / Ecosystem Services

Legal Planet is a blog associated with the law schools at U.C. Berkeley and at UCLA. A recent edition reviewed a new book by Rob Verchick, entitled Facing Catastrophe: Environmental Action for a Post-Katrina World.

The review says that Verchick "views wetlands, lakes, forests, and rivers as a kind of infrastructure, providing ecosystem services that are just as important as the services provided by other infrastructure such as roads and dams."

I question that "just as important" phrase, since I believe that the world of Nature, that provides those "ecosystem services," is the would upon which we ultimately depend. The world of Nature is primary, in other words, not secondary. If "ecosystem services" are important to us, they aren't "just as" important as the infrastructure we build ourselves. They are more important.

In fact, I don't much like the idea of "ecosystem services," which is a hot topic in current environmental thinking. From my point of view, it's just another way to package the kind of "instrumentalism" that sees Nature as something that we are supposed to be exploiting for our own, human ends.

Where that leads us, the BP blowout shows.

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