What Is a Tree Worth?

This question first came to light when in the UK it was found that insurance companies where getting planning permission to cut trees down due to the risk that they may cause damage to buildings nearby.  This shows that a trees value is not correctly calculated in modern capitalism. Trees are so devalued that they are removed because they may cause damage to nearby buildings.

Why Can Capitalism Not Value Nature?

Capitalism is based simply on changing the world’s natural resources to monetary gain.  The insurer saw the possibility to reduce premiums and increase profits through getting rid of troublesome trees.  The tree was not protected because it only had the negative cost associated with it by the insurance company.

The tree’s value to capitalism is abstract.  It provides clean air, it increases mood and therefore productivity of the local capitalists and it reduces the risk of flash flooding that can cause massive damage to private property.

Start Valuing Nature or Start Paying

Without the correct value systems our civilization is doomed.  We are currently doing exactly that.  In our rush for growth we slaughter nature for short-term monetary gain.  We need to start at the tree level and work our way up.  How much is a single tree worth?  How much is a wood worth? How much is the Amazon worth?  We should not just value them for our generation but for future generations.

Nothing, a fiver or a £1000? Picture courtesy of www.lavalleehps.com

We need to value things for future generation because that is the only way to sustainable development.  With the right value systems the need for protection will become obvious.  However as a species that developed on short term survival strategies our brain is often not prepared to let us look at the bigger picture.  To swallow what seems like a massive sacrifice now for which in reality is a sound and great investment.

We can also not try to fight our instincts and continue thinking always in short term gains.  The problem is that at some point the waitress will come with bill as the bill has got too big.  She will stop the drunken laughter at our table and we will wake into the reality of the true cost of the last two hours.   The bill of course will only be the first wake-up-call.  We will then have the long hangover where we suffer due to our excesses.  Of course this scenario will not be played out in a restaurant, but will occur on a global scale.  The bill may be a category five hurricane rolling into New York City or the wave of migrants battering at northern Europe’s door when Southern Europe and North Africa become too unbearable and no longer able to support the populations.


What Way to you think we will turn?  Start valuing trees or carry on just seeing the “risk” they are to local buildings?

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