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Over a 50-year lifespan, a single tree generates $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,000 worth of soil erosion. Environmental services like these contribute billions of dollars to the global economy every year, yet governments routinely ignore the importance of the natural world when planning economic development. In Environmental Debt, award-winning environmentalist Amy Larkin issues a clarion call for governments, businesses, and consumers to ...
Over a 50-year lifespan, a single tree generates $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,000 worth of soil erosion. Environmental services like these contribute billions of dollars to the global economy every year, yet governments routinely ignore the importance of the natural world when planning economic development. In Environmental Debt, award-winning environmentalist Amy Larkin issues a clarion call for governments, businesses, and consumers to recalculate the financial contributions of the natural world—and the long-hidden costs of environmental damage. She explores the emerging concept of environmental debt, and the new accounting tools to track it, such as Environmental Profit & Loss Sheets, to show how businesses and governments can use conservation to drive growth by combining three central tenets: 1) take the long view; 2) accept that pollution can no longer be free or subsidized; and 3) policy must play a vital role in catalyzing clean technology and growth while preventing environmental destruction. As companies struggle to strategize in the face of uncertain oil prices and extreme weather, this timely and important book will transform how policymakers, business leaders, and environmentalists think about the future of commerce.
"Environmental Debt expertly connects the two big systems we all depend on — financial and ecological — and shows that they're completely intertwined — one cannot succeed without the other. Larkin is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap and map out a plan to make both systems stronger.—Andrew Winston, coauthor of Green to Gold
“Humankind’s days of pillaging the earth for its resources are over. Today, a new strategy is needed if the global economy is to survive. Larkin’s three guiding principles for 21st century commerce are required reading for anyone invested in a thriving business landscape as well as a healthy environment.” —Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International
"Amy Larkin sounds the alarm of the coming economic crisis and calls for urgent actions to repair our relationship with nature. A committed environmentalist, she also knows firsthand how the business world gets real work done, and argues for pragmatism and common sense to undo environmental harm and re-make the future. As a business person and industrialist my entire career, I support Environmental Debt as part of an inclusive and well-rounded roadmap to make the world a better place."—John Hofmeister, retired President Shell Oil Company, founder/CEO Citizens for Affordable Energy, and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies
"This book has an important message—pollution is not free. If the polluters do not pay the cost, others do in the form of increases in health costs, loss of property values, higher insurance rates and damages to crops, materials and public infrastructure. As fossil fuel consumption grows, these costs will mount. Regardless of one's political bent or world view, one cannot ignore Amy Larkin's powerful premise that putting a price on pollution—both carbon and conventional—will dramatically accelerate the transition to the cleaner energy systems that our world will need in the decades ahead."—Henry Lee is the Jassim M. Jaidah Family Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government
"Larkin offers a comprehensive framework to connect the causes of these crises to ensure businesses are not derailed by environmental problems." — The Irish Times