Building Natural Capital

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.

6 thoughts on “Building Natural Capital

  1. Good morning
    I’m impressed and love your natural capital living. I leave in a farm In Botswana, please help in developing a sustainable permaculture farm.

    Thank you in advance


  2. Enjoy reading your posts. I have some plants in pots On our terrace which is the roof of the parking lot in our apartment building. No idea of what to do. Live in Dhaka, Bangladesh


  3. Hello Elizabeth,
    I just paid for a permaculture landscape design plan from another designer in So. California. The list of suggested plants has provided some new plants I didn’t know about, yet there are also many that seem unnecessary or at least more typical landscape plants. I discussed my desire for low-water and native plants, apples and pears and a grey water system and a natural swimming pond, but none of those are on the plan. I have already asked her to include our initial discussions and what trees I wanted to keep in place that are edible, but they are not on the plan either. I would really like to have a complete system that is well thought out and integrates reusing the grey water from our personal use. I would love to be able to get some advice. I have a pdf file of the design.
    Thank you for the work you are doing!


    1. I am so sorry to hear that you have not been provided with a plan which meets your needs. I would be glad to take a look, and to quote for a design that better meets your needs if required. I will send you an email.


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