We can also use capitalism to save nature, says environmentalist. ‘Put a price on our planet’

Interview in the Volkskrant, 12 August 2023 by Daan Ballegeer.

Capitalism does not stand in the way of saving our planet, but is an ally to combat climate change. According to environmental activist Paula DiPerna, we need to put a higher price on the services provided to us by nature. 

The accusation goes that economists know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. But that is true for many people. We find it normal to put down a bucket of money for a house with an ocean view, while we seem to find the coral reefs that protect it from catastrophic storms financially worthless. After all, we don’t put money into them to make them thrive. 

Financial logic 

Nature deserves a price, she says, video calling from her home in New York. ‘We have become accustomed as humanity to taking what we can. What is free, we take, to the extreme. The result? Pollution, decay, climate change and the misconception that nature will always deliver, no matter how triumphant we are.’ 

These consequences are being felt in coral reefs, among others. If climate change and pollution continue, they could be completely gone by 2070, warns the International Union for Conservation of Nature. ‘The pounding of increasingly intense ocean storms, already another consequence of global warming, can only accelerate that decline,’ DiPerna notes. 

Read the article (in Dutch) on https://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/we-kunnen-kapitalisme-ook-inzetten-om-de-natuur-te-redden-zegt-milieuactivist-zet-een-prijs-op-onze-planeet~be70a80a/