Environmental Systems Innovation

Short video giving an overview of our environmental management paper. Ecosystems management can no longer be an ad hoc solution patched onto the side of the economy, this new context requires that it become a central part of what the economy is and does. Economies function as distributed management systems, through the negative feedback loops of the market, they manage whatever it is that people value, can quantify, and exchange. Until very recently we have only really valued the derivatives of ecosystems: the water, food, minerals etc in terms of their utility to which we could ascribe a financial value. But this is changing as we build a new kind of post-industrial economy with a more complex multidimensional conception of value. Completing the process of industrialization means people’s values change subtly, but importantly. At this stage in economic development the scarcity is no longer in technology, capital, and labor, it is increasingly in natural capital: the value shifts from the derivatives of ecosystems, to the functional integrity of those ecosystems. This integrity of the ecosystem can’t be fully measured in terms of utility, it requires a different kind of capital, what can be called, ‘natural capital’.


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