URBAN ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
I ascribe to the core tenets of conservation biology, including recognising the intrinsic value of biodiversity. To me, all lifeforms have the fundamental right to exist and this is a good enough reason to protect other species. And in extending this concept to entire systems, e.g., ecosystems, including their non-living components, my environmental worldview can be classified as ecocentrism – a belief system that may best serve the goals of sustainability.
But I realise that my worldviews place me in the minority. Most people who value biodiversity (and not everyone does) do so for its instrumental value. Therefore, the dominant worldviews, especially in the Western Hemisphere, are anthropocentric, placing humans as superior or even transcendent to Nature. Even the Brundtland Report, which defined sustainable development, is inherently anthropocentric, by emphasising the concept of “natural capital” – the natural world consists of resources for human use.
And while I reject this idea, I’m not a misanthrope. Human dignity and social justice matter greatly to me. Besides, the best solutions to the environmental crisis are always ones people support – actually, without this support, conservation is impossible. A great way to raise it is to show what Nature does for us. In fact, it does everything for us, and all the tangible and intangible benefits we get from biodiversity are ecosystem services.