Everybody knows how pretty Nature can be - whether it's a cascading waterfall or the big maple tree down the street. But can we actually measure it's value? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, scientists put a price tag on Nature. Also, biologist Paul Ehrlich on the new "brownlash" movement.
Jane Lubchenko is a marine biologist and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She tells Judith Strasser that people are just beginning to understand how expensive it would be to try to replace some of the environmental services (soil drainage, water purification, climate control) that the earth provides for free. Also, Columbia University economist Geoffrey Heal tells Steve Paulson about a case where the city of New York was able to cost out the benefit of conserving the ecosystem in the Catskills (where the City collects its water) as opposed to building a water purification plant. And, Jim Fleming reads a bit from Henry David Thoreau's "Walden."SEGMENT 2:
Businessman and environmentalist Paul Hawken thinks our society should do a better job of measuring costs. He tells Anne Strainchamps that both negative events like contracting cancer and positive things like buying a house are counted equally as economic growth. Hawken gives examples of innovative methods of assigning costs that reward concern for the environment.SEGMENT 3:
First we had environmentalism. Then there was a backlash of writers and anti-environment activists claiming that things really weren't that bad. Now there's "brownlash" - a counter-offensive by scientists and environmentalists led by Stanford biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich. Paul Ehrlich tells Jim Fleming what some of the claims and counter claims are and why he feels it's urgent to begin to take environmental issues seriously.
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