Gretchen's organization, the Natural Capital Project (Nat Cap), develops practical approaches for valuing nature (that are available as free software) and works with governments, businesses, NGOs and community groups to make things happen. Gretchen and I recently discussed her work and vision for the future.
We only really have a choice between sensible guidelines that address sustainability, and senseless guidelines that dismiss the obvious. We only really have a choice between protecting our kids' food and water, and consuming it all. We only really have a choice between addressing a clear and present danger, and the shortsighted stupidity of ignoring it.
The forests that produce our oxygen are in turn dependent on animal species that are sustained by them, and pay it back in various ways, such as by dispersing seeds. The vast interdependence of life is a bedrock principle of biology, from bees to buffalo to banyan trees. As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, our fellow species and we will sink or swim together.
We should be paying farmers to do the right thing. Conservation needs to be viewed as a crop since incentives will be key to water quality and GHG reduction efforts. But if the ultimate goal is clean water and agriculture productivity, then the ag lobby is going to have to fight hard and loud for conservation funding.
I don't appreciate the whole free will thing, but I am stuck with it. If you want to play let's make a deal, I'm ready any time. The future's on the menu, and I can really cook. So dinner is at my place, and I'll save you a seat at the table. As for saving anything else -- well, I guess that all depends upon your appetite.