Conserving Natural Capital to Ensure Our Future Food Supply
7 April 2022
"Nature is more than a mere economic good. Nature nurtures and nourishes us, so we will think of assets as durable entities that not only have use value, but may also have intrinsic worth. Once we make that extension, the economics of biodiversity becomes a study in portfolio management." – The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review
The importance of conserving natural capital
We are surrounded by the abundance of nature, or we like to think so. Yet too much of the world is underfed or overfed. How have we come to this?
The foundation of our food system is the diversity of seeds, the myriad different types of wheat, beans, sunflowers, potatoes, eggplants and dozens of other crops. These food crops contribute an astonishing array of colours, textures, flavours and, most importantly, vital nutrients to our diets. They are just as much the bounty of nature as mangrove forests, coral reefs and panda bears.
Yet, like mangrove forests, coral reefs and panda bears, many crops and crop varieties are under threat, from changes in agricultural practices, climate, pests and diseases. We are losing this crop biodiversity at an alarming rate. And once lost, it is lost forever.
If we want to ensure that the grains, pulses, oils, fruits and vegetables we eat today remain on our dinner tables, and those of our grandchildren, we must reverse this trend.