Natural Capital

Natural Capital

Thursday, January 22, 2015 / 4:00 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Peter Alagona (History and Environmental Studies, UCSB)
Sarah Anderson (Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB)
Ken Hiltner (English and Environmental Studies, UCSB; UCSB Sustainability Champion)
Sharyn Main (Santa Barbara Foundation)
Richard Widick (Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB)
Facilitator: Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook (English and Comparative Literature, UCSB)

How much is the ocean worth? Can we calculate the economic value of its contributions to human life- to the global carbon cycle; to ecotourism and recreation; to marine fisheries that feed the world? Would we use the ocean- or any other ecosystem- differently if we had to pay the actual dollar value of the functions it provides? Projects like the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment argue that establishing the value of ecosystem services allows us to materialize environmental risk and ground difficult policy debates amid twenty first-century global-scale environmental and economic crises. This pluri-disciplinary roundtable will examine how the idea of natural capital is shaping our relations to the environment. What happens when natural resources are brought into the marketplaces of the Anthropocene? What are the positive and negative effects, at different scales, of linking economic models to ecosystems? How will financial practices around risk and credit affect government policies on the management of natural resources? What are complements – or alternatives – to a ‘natural capital’ framework?

Sponsored by the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.

Click here to listen to a recording of this panel from the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.