Enterprising Nature tracks the rise of a powerful idea in global biodiversity conservation. Many scientists, bureaucrats, and environmentalists now believe that the only way to slow the decimation of nonhuman life on earth is to translate conservation into an economically rational even profitable set of policies and practices. In order to make live, goes the ascending mantra, one must make economic. Through multi–sited analysis, Jessica Dempsey explores the drive to produce a nature that can prove its value in economic terms, a nature that can compete in the marketplace and the cost–benefit accounting of modern governance.
Can enterprising nature provide a way out of the biodiversity crisis? In answering this question, Dempsey studies past and present attempts to suture conservation with economic logics and practices. The book digs down into scientific and technical debates, bringing readers lively firsthand accounts of political and economic struggles over market–making in places such as London, New York, Nagoya, and Nairobi. Dempsey finds that the story of enterprising nature is not one of triumphant ascent but rather one of enormous challenges: technical, scientific, economic, and political. Enterprising nature seems like an easy fix to ecological degradation, tailor–made for our austerity bound, market–governance times, but Dempsey argues it is best conceptualized as promissory, a green utopia whose realization is always just around the corner.
Enterprising Nature provides critical and timely insight into the workings of a massive international project that s changing how we value the natural world. The book is essential reading for scholars, activists, and policymakers interested in the complex and expanding relationships among ecology, economics and markets in contemporary international environmental politics.
Series Editor s Preface vi
1 Enterprising Nature 1
2 The Problem and Promise of Biodiversity Loss 28
3 An Economic–Ecological Tribunal for (Nonhuman) Life 56
4 Ecosystem Services as Political–Scientific Strategy 91
5 Protecting Profit: Biodiversity Loss as Material Risk 126
6 Biodiversity Finance and the Search for Patient Capital 159
7 Multilateralism vs Biodiversity Market–Making: Battlegrounds to Unleash Capital 192
8 The Tragedy of Liberal Environmentalism 232