When you think about how wealthy you are, you might think about bricks and mortar property, possessions, and money in the bank. But it is important to understand that wealth comes also from the natural world around us. Whether on your own property, in your community, or in your broader environment, building natural capital is the real way to work towards a safe and secure future.
Water, soil, clean air, plants, animals – all these things are nature’s bounty. They of course have value in their own right. But they also provide things for us, as individuals, and for humanity. We can refer to these things as natural capital. The ecosystem services provided by healthy natural ecosystems are, in the end, the things that make human life possible, and, more than this, make our lives worth living.
The term natural capital can sometimes be viewed as problematic, because it implies a starkly anthropocentric (human-centred) view. People may sometimes feel that the world was made for us. But building natural capital and obtaining the things we need from nature should not focus on acquisition and depletion.
Building value (intrinsic value and value to us) should be about more than just what we personally can gain. When we are surrounded by abundant, productive and biodiverse natural environments, we can begin to take our rightful place as key elements within the system – not the overlords of all.
Like other creatures, we can shape our environments for good as well as in negative ways. And we can build natural capital for the gain of the system as a whole and all its other inhabitants, and for future generations, we well as just for ourselves.
There is a lot we can do to improve our surroundings and work with nature to increase its bounty and services. Often, building natural capital begins in your garden. If you would like to benefit from the wealth that healthy and abundant ecosystems can bring, I can help develop a sustainable, permaculture plan for where you live, so please do reach out to discuss how I can help.