Dollar values and intrinsic values: can they co-exist?


It has been a long time between posts, and this current post covers an area that I've been musing over for an equally long time (and then some!). At the IUCN World Parks Congress in November 2014, I had been struck by how mainstream the idea of  Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) already was (NCA can also be referred to as Environmental Accounting or Full Cost Accounting). I had been aware of the 1997 paper by Costanza et al. on the value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital, and the work by The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB) to mainstream the economic visibility of nature, but I had not realised how broadly NCA concepts had been adopted by individuals and organisations in the conservation and development fields. continue reading...


WPC2014: How to spin a reef

Cyclone Larry 2006

2006: Cyclone Larry bears down on the Queensland coast, roaring over the Great Barrier Reef.

Part 1

How we frame environmental issues affects the kinds of solutions we generate. Many of the discussions I heard at the IUCN World Parks Congress (Congress) sought to reorient protected area (PA) management efforts into broader geographic landscapes to engage bordering communities and industries in the process of ecosystem protection. Further re-framing sought to turn the question of whether we are protecting enough space into a question about what we hope to achieve through such protection, and whether the spaces we have selected (and seek to select) for protection will aid in achieving these goals. continue reading...


IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 - Part 2: An overview

Sylvia Earle addresses the Congress

Sylvia Earle addresses the Congress during a World Leaders' Dialogue on Feeding 9 billion people [16 Nov 14]

On Wednesday, November 19th, the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress came to a close after eight days of dialogues, presentations, lectures, workshops, capacity building sessions, and more. I plan to write in some detail about particular Congress events and sessions that I attended, and to reflect on the information and messages received as well as to unpack/critique some of the issues as I see them. In this post I will give a broad overview of my experience before getting into the details with later blog posts. continue reading...


IUCN World Parks Congress - Part 1

I have been a bit inconsistent in my posting here. Inconsistent in two ways. Firstly, I had planned to write blog posts with greater frequency and, secondly, I was going to both rant and rave about relevant issues, but I seem to have tipped the scales in favour of rants.

So I thought I'd remedy the situation by writing a bit about the IUCN World Parks Congress, which I'll be attending here in Sydney from November 12th - 19th. This gives me impetus to pen some more posts and a chance to rave (I hope) about some positive action aimed at addressing the environmental, social, and economic challenges that the world presently faces. continue reading...


Should economists study physics?

In my last post I mentioned my intention to examine an article that presents a libertarian's take on environmentalism. The article in question is called "Environmentalism Refuted" by George Reisman and it can be found over at the mises.org website. I stumbled across this article while browsing through "anti-environmental" articles in a somewhat shocked state; having only recently discovered that anti-environmentalism is actually a real thing to which real people adhere.

I wrote a number of comments in response to Reisman's article. I was somewhat bewildered by the lack of rebuttals to his writings given how divorced from the real world they seemed. continue reading...


An opening glance at Libertarianism

Black and yellow libertarian flag with glancing eye

I've been meaning to write about libertarianism (also "classical liberalism") for some time now. It's an ideology that has received increased exposure in Australia of late, particularly through the influence of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and the libertarian-esque developments in Australia's 2014 budget. The IPA is a libertarian think-tank with very close ties to, and influence on, our current government (Liberal National Party Coalition). One need only view the IPA's wishlist of policy reforms and compare it to the actions of the current government to see that there are strong ideological alignments between the IPA and Coalition government. Don't get me wrong, the Coalition is not libertarian, but the cross-over points between its neo-liberal agenda and the libertarian agenda make for a unity ticket across many policy areas. continue reading...


On the bluster of "more free speech"

I didn't anticipate that my first blog post would be about the proposed changes to Australia's Racial Discrimination Act (1975) (RDA) and yet, here we are! The following text forms part of the letter that I have submitted to the federal government and relevant ministers in response to their call for comments on the Freedom of Speech (repeal of S18c) Bill (2014) - Exposure Draft. This isn't an exhaustive discussion, as I'm sure there are many qualified legal, social, and policy adept individuals and organisations responding to the Exposure Draft. My main points relate to the politicised and obfuscatory arguments being used in favour of changing the RDA. continue reading...


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