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How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature
- Read in 15 minutes
- Contains 9 key ideas
Nature’s Fortune (2013) challenges our views on economic development and the environment. Drawing on research about the ways we work with and against nature, nature lover and former investment banker Mark Tercek presents a compelling case for investment in green infrastructure, and shows us how economic growth and conservation can benefit each other.
Key idea 1 of 9
Nature provides services similar to human-built infrastructure.
When we are confronted by dirty water what do we do? We build a sewage plant. When we are faced with a persistently flooding river we contain it with levees. In short, when nature provides us with a problem, we build man-made infrastructure to combat it.
What’s more, we tend to take all this modern infrastructure for granted. So let’s just take some time to look and consider why we build them in the first place.
We primarily set up infrastructure in order to access various services.
For instance, dams and levees provide the service of shielding us against droughts and floods, and sewage and filtration plants provide safe and clean water in our homes and workplaces.
All the pieces of infrastructure mentioned above are examples of human or gray infrastructure, so-called because it is usually made of concrete.
The Hoover Dam, for example, is the largest water reservoir in the United States and consists of 3.3 million cubic metres of concrete. Just for scale, this is the same quantity that would be needed to construct nearly 40 Wembley Stadiums.
But nature already provides us with a kind of green infrastructure that does the same job – lakes and reservoirs are naturally created bodies of water that do the same as a huge man-made dam.
Green infrastructure can provide services to filter water, break down contaminants and store excessive water for use in dryer times. Remarkably, our coral reefs can even provide protection against flooding, as they break down waves before they get a chance to hit the land.
You can see, then, that we already have many of the kinds of infrastructures we need to thrive in place on our planet.