Nature and communities all over the world are facing multiple crises. Capitalism is also experiencing grave problems.
Nature and the communities who directly depend on it are threatened by climate change, water shortages, biodiversity depletion, deforestation and acidification of oceans. Capitalism’s crises are caused in part by the demand for new attractive investment opportunities outpacing the supply.
Meanwhile nation states are struggling to protect the planet’s living conditions with global environmental legislation, without increasing the cost of industrial production. The UNEP, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Bank and others promoting a Green Economy say that ‘green growth’ will address these multiple crises in one sweep. Green growth, they claim, will relieve states of the growing financial burden of environmental protection while fixing the environmental damage corporate destruction of nature has already caused.
‘Green growth’, however, redefines ‘green’ not ‘growth’: Nature is described in the language of financial capital to better suit the new Green Economy. This Green Economy needs a flexible idea of nature. A nature divided into different “ecosystem services” that can be quantified, measured and above all, broken up into individual units, so profit can be made from selling rights to these individual units of nature.
We call this financialisation of nature.