Valuing the Environment:
It is now widely appreciated that protecting the environment is an important activity and that environmental services are frequently only dimly perceived and inadequately understood.
From insect pollinators of most flowering plants to the flood-prevention functions of forests these services are beginning to be understood and we now value the environment for more than the raw materials that it can provide through mining or agriculture.
But ultimately, it is essential that this understanding find its way into the calculus of our national accounts. We cannot continue to have a forest standing up count as zero and when it is cut down it enters as a positive quantity in the measurement of our GDP. Much has been done on this topic by many people all over the world, and the BA plans to hold an important conference next year to review how we should revise our national accounts and our various indexes of development to take adequate account of environmental health of the ecosystem or its degradation. We can do no less to help guide policy actions properly.