Economic values of nature
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In this and the next chapter, we take up the challenge of how we might formally link the economy to the environment. First some background which follows on from our previous discussion. It has become increasingly obvious during the past 50 years that nature is being degraded through the release of pollutants and widespread over-use of natural resources, both finite and renewable. It costs polluters nothing to use and abuse the rivers, the oceans, and the atmosphere. Thor Heyerdahl, in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean more than 60 years ago, was astounded to find large blobs of pollutants drifting hither and thither. No one owned the oceans and could sue the polluters for the damage caused. Very few saw the pollution - Heyerdahl and his companions were on the tiny raft Kon-Tiki with the currents, and could see what ship captains couldn't from their elevated wheel-houses.
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