28 July 2013
By Julie Beal
Putting a price tag on the services provided by nature, and human beings, was first proposed by ecological economists some 40 years ago, as a way to protect biodiversity, and to give a truer figure for the GDP of a nation. This is done by monitoring all resources (natural capital), and the well-being of the people, and the services they provide ‘for free’, such as caring for elderly relatives. The GDP would then reflect the ‘true wealth’ of the country – essential knowledge for globalist investors.
The idea fleshed out and evolved amidst a hyped-up media panic about the future of the earth –funded by those in power, and with much to gain from using the excuse of ‘environmentalism’. Now, a global market for ecosystem service credits is being steadily established, which would one day affect us all profoundly. The global commons is being sold off! Some peoples are already being charged ‘user fees’ for using the services that nature provides, such as water, whilst fortunes for many of the power elite have been secured with the purchase of carbon credits, with many more ecosystem ‘credits’ to come. These credits, and the community currencies also being promoted by the elite, signify the endlessly ‘renewable’ stock of assets supplied by natural, and human/social, capital. As our current system collapses, a New Economy is rising.
The key turning point was the launch of Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit in 1992; however, there were decades of events pre-dating this launch. Suffice it to say, understanding that future prosperity lay in controlling natural resources, key global elites had established conservation and preservation initiatives throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries, such as the founding of the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (‘the Fauna’) in 1903, under the patronage of the Royal Crown, and the creation of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, by Charles Rothschild in 1912. (Source)
The concept of ecology was increasingly popularised throughout the start of the century, with a notable change in the public mindset by the 1960s. James S. Bowman, (The Environmental Movement: An Assessment of Ecological Politics, 1976) attributed this to a succession of significant events, such as the threat of nuclear fallout from a distance, the vision of earth from above, and campaigns such as the Sierra Club’s plea to save the Grand Canyon from being dammed and flooded. Edward Bernays would have approved of the media fanfare for Earth Day in 1970.
Changing the public mindset readied the world for the political pantomime that began in earnest in the 1980s, when ‘Environmentalism’ became the property of the rich. Replacing the flower-power generation, and their profligate hedonism, the new environmentalists were politicians and profiteers, claiming to care as much as the hippies before them, but in a ‘rational’, mainstream, way. One of the first key moves was the formation of the World Resources Institute (WRI) in 1982, with a $15 million donation from the MacArthur Foundation. Another key event was the Fourth World Wilderness Congress in Colorado, U.S.A. in 1988, when onto the stage stepped Mr Rockefeller, and Mr Ruckelshaus. They were introduced by James Gustav Speth (co-founder of the WRI), as, respectively, ‘Mr Development’ and ‘Mr Environment’.
Extended version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUdgiehz9dU
The Congress, which was also attended by Baron Edmund de Rothschild, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker, was opened by Maurice Strong, with the remark, “We are having a great convergence today – not a Harmonic Convergence – but a global convergence.” As George Hunt identified, the meeting marked the creation of a new political ideology to end all politics: the communitarian synthesis, the final solution, which accords us all the responsibility to protect the earth, and to value the well-being of others. To do as we’re told. Also unveiled at the Congress was “the 'World Wilderness Inventory', prepared by the Sierra Club at the behest of the Fourth World Wilderness Congress. 'Only areas of at least 400 square kilometers (1 million acres) were inventoried, because the constraints of this particular study did not allow identification of smaller wilderness areas, though they, too, are of interest.'"
Attorney and business mogul, William D. Ruckelshaus was at the Congress to proclaim concern about the environment, and stress the global nature of the ‘crisis.’ Ruckelshaus was the first (and the fifth) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and was the man who, controversially, overturned the court ruling on the safety of DDT, leading to it being banned. Several million people are said to have died of malaria as a result. Ruckelshaus is also said by many to have had connections with the Audubon Society and the Environmental Defense Fund.
George Hunt described how Ruckelshaus was, at that time,
the CEO and Chairman of the Board for BFI, Browning-Ferris Industries, one of the largest private environment companies in the world. The hypocrisy is that Ruckelshaus as EPA chief, made the very laws by which his waste company, BFI, is becoming rich. Hypocrisy number two is that Ruckelshaus and Maurice Strong were key investors in American Water Development, a company which tried to circumvent Colorado water laws and gain control of one of the largest underground reservoirs of water in the world….
Representing ‘Mr Development’ at the Congress, Rockefeller launched the concept of business ‘ethics’, paving the way for the green face presented by corporate social responsibility programs today. One of the richest men in the world telling businesses not to put profit first! As if!!! He even had the gall to blame the poorest people in the world for environmental degradation, but the overall idea was to say, ‘We’re all in this together’.
Hunt documented many of the events and issues around Agenda 21, as they were happening; he saw right through the phony rhetoric of these powerful globalists, and the way our core values, and our natural resources, are being exploited by those with the most vested interest in managing those resources. The conversation about our core values is being controlled by those who do not exhibit these values, and are in positions of great power. It is but an ideological charade: when they want to influence development, such as to create smart cities, and reserve land for biofuel crops, they’ll say ‘it’s got to be sustainable’; and when they want to extract, pollute, grow, develop, and pump us full of pharmaceuticals, GMOs, and vaccines, they’ll say it’s for the sake of our well-being.
Gustav Speth, former head of the Council on Environmental Quality, spearheaded the Global 2000 Report for the Carter Administration, (well worth reading about here) which led to the formation of the World Resources Institute (WRI). Much of this was documented by Stephen Moore, who wrote, in 1985,
Global 2000 was the intellectual rationale for WRI; it was formed to, "provide a global perspective on resource, population, and environmental issues".
So far, the consensus is that WRI has had surprisingly little influence on policy and academic thought. Harvey Alder, Manager of the Resource Policy Office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, speculates that WRI may amount to "no more than a defense of Global 2000”. In fact, one of WRI's major projects is an annual world resources report to improve global resource data collection, which is right in line with a Global 2000 recommendation. With a $4 million budget WRI could wield vast future influence.”
Speth remains a central figure at the WRI, along with Al Gore, and Ruckelshaus, who has also served on the Board of Directors of Monsanto and numerous other firms. The EPA partnered with the WRI in 2008 to advance the ecosystem services marketplace. The WRI is now headed by Andrew Steer, who has worked, “at the World Bank as Director of the Environmental Department, where he oversaw a major expansion of the Bank’s environmental program, and a number of important innovations, including natural capital accounting and the introduction of carbon trading at the World Bank.” Steer was also the chief author of the World Development Report on Environment and Development, presented at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit by World Bank.
After co-founding the WRI, Speth went on to serve “as Administrator of the United Nations Sustainable Development Program (UNDP) from 1993 to 2000. He was the highest-ranking American in the UN system: 'in effect the No. 2 job at the U.N. next to the secretary general.'" (Source)
At a conference in 1997, he said, “Global governance is here, here to stay, and, driven by economic and environmental globalization, global governance will inevitably expand.” (Source)
According to their website, in 1988 the WRI took over, “the North American branch of a London-based nonprofit, the Institute for International Environment and Development (IIED), a major contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In absorbing the Washington office and its staff, WRI became an aid contractor with a portfolio of environmental and development projects around the world.” The institute then went on to work with Maurice Strong to implement Agenda 21 and the Convention on Biological Diversity, at the UN’s Rio summit, which the WRI claims, “drew heavily on principles that WRI had outlined in an earlier report written in collaboration with the U.N. Environment Program and the World Conservation Union”.
Throughout the '80s and '90s, the WRI collaborated with the UN and World Bank to disseminate the policy of a ‘green GNP’, based upon research conducted at WRI by Robert Repetto, whereby monetary values are given to ‘ecosystem services’ to act as a guide to sustainable development. These ideas were also endorsed in a report by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in 1976 (‘The Unfinished Agenda’, see chapter 9). The report was edited by Gerald O. Barney, who was also the Director of the Global 2000 Study.
As documented by Vicky Davis, the proposal to link the environment to the economy was advocated by Atari Democrats such as Al Gore, and Tim Wirth, who believed, “market forces can be harnessed to protect the environment and work better than “command and control regulations.” The upsurge in activity by political and commercial interests in environmentalism led the Fresno Bee (1989) to wonder why, “during the past 12 months -- environmental politics has gone from virtual international obscurity to center stage”, and to conclude, “… the environment provides an almost perfect arena for East-West cooperation." (Source)
In the same year, the Atlanta Journal reported, “Global climate is starting to figure into investment decisions." Twenty-four years later, it is becoming standard practice for transnational corporations to report on their use of natural and human capital to meet their corporate social responsibility requirements. Investors increasingly expect them to prove they can satisfy all three criteria of Agenda 21 – care of the environment, equity, and the economy must all be factored in to the company’s accounts. To do this, companies can convert the goods and the bads they do into their monetary equivalents, such as carbon credits, and Payments for Ecosystem Services.
Natural capital is understood as the “flows of goods and services such as water, medicines and food”, provided by nature and people, and which benefit human well being. Nature and human beings have been re-defined as an endlessly renewable stock of assets. We are all biomass, transforming energy. The Natural Capital Declaration was signed last year by numerous financial institutions, and supported by several global organisations, including UNDP and WWF. Their 2013 ‘roadmap’ helps define what the corporations’ concept of ‘externalities’ includes:
Natural capital is not only relevant from an economic and financial perspective but equally from a cultural and social perspective – based on, for example, the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on indigenous community knowledge as a key facilitator of our understanding of natural capital, such as unlocking medicines for pharmaceutical production. However, the Natural Capital Declaration does not intend to quantify human capital depletion/degradation such as that associated with the loss of livelihoods.
Repetto’s work on ecosystem services (green accounting) was pushed forward by the WRI, leading to the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005, which was a “global audit of ecosystem services”. This audit confirmed there were trillions of dollars worth of such services to be had, and now forms the backbone of the various green accounting methodologies, such as World Bank’s System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) was adopted as the international standard for statistical analysis of natural capital by the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) at its forty-third session in 2012. The World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) Partnership is helping countries to start doing natural capital accounting, partnered with several UN agencies.
Robert Costanza also co-authored the now seminal piece of research which involved providing the net monetary benefits which nature could provide. Along with several of his colleagues, it seems Costanza may now be having some doubts about pricing nature; in a post entitled ‘Conventional markets are the wrong institutions for managing ecosystem services’, he belatedly criticised the financial behemoth being created, and proposed instead that the commons should still belong to the people, and should be managed by an 'ecosystem trust'. (Source) However, the process which will privatize the commons is in full swing. There are numerous projects on the go, there is full backing amongst all those with power, and steps are being taken by nations to bring their laws in line with the scheme, guided by GLOBE International. This is a supra-national organisation made up of legislators from around the world, all of them committed to implementing natural capital accounting in their respective countries.
The corporate world is also very actively supporting the ES marketplace, with the TEEB for Business Coalition, the Corporate Eco Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) playing major roles.
The public face of the ecosystem services marketplace is now being popularised by the media. The values being espoused are noble, but their solutions are not. Even the airlines magnate, Richard Branson, now claims to believe in the Gaia hypothesis. His non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, claims to be super-green, such as by investing in ‘green energy’; like other billionaires Branson also advocates natural capital accounting, and was involved in setting up the Carbon War Room, making Virgin, it would seem, what passes for a sustainable airline!
Bono and U2 are also aboard the eco-bandwagon – Bono has been hanging out at Davos, and with the likes of Al Gore, whilst the band claimed to have offset the carbon from their 3600 tour (the most un-eco-friendly tour ever). (Source)
Methinks that, “…intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us” (H. G. Wells)
Thousands of rousing speeches since have united folk across the globe, not just for a common cause, but for a common solution. Just like the people who have debated the theory of anthropogenic climate change, those who speak out against the ES marketplace are scorned as ‘anti-environmentalists’, or ‘flat earthers’. Nonetheless, many minds are now open to new possibilities, so once people understand that the solution being offered has already been decided on by the very globalist banks and corporations we have come to despise, a critical mass could arise, focused on finding alternatives to valuing nature, and planned obsolescence.
Our biggest hope is the science of complex adaptive systems –the theory of climate change rests upon computer models of earth, but complexity science reveals how very complex and interwoven all of the earth’s components are, and we are an infinite distance from being able to truly model its workings upon a computer. The best we can hope for is a crude approximation, and even then, it has been shown that complex adaptive systems are self-regulating. If the ecological economists, and complexity scientists, could see the bigger picture of future natural capital accountancy . . .
- the plans for large monocultures of genetically modified biomass crops, for biofuel, and thousands of household products
- the increasing inclusion of nuclear energy in the definition of sustainability (as a renewable)
- the effects of patented GMO crops, and schemes such as REDD and carbon credits, upon local communities
- the effects of geo-engineering and nano-technology
- the rise in surveillance that monitoring of natural and human capital entails
. . . I think they would agree that the trade in ecosystem service credits is A VERY BAD IDEA, and has little to do with caring for the earth, or its people. Once fully established, the ES marketplace could make our current fiat system redundant. The future is biomimicry, and the economy is set to by circular - modeled on what we have and who we are, it will be used for simulations, to make predictions. This is the golden nugget for the powers that be. One we shall deny them.
 such as computer simulations claiming to model the earth’s climate in the 1960s, and the Report from Iron Mountain – and a great many other things that will have to wait for another article!
Julie Beal is a UK-based independent researcher who has been studying the globalist agenda for more than 20 years. Please visit her website, Get Mind Smart, for a wide range of information about Agenda 21, Communitarianism, Ethics, Bioscience, and much more.