Globe Climate: Could putting a price on nature help save it?
If you are reading this on the web or if someone has emailed you this newsletter, you can sign up for Globe Climate and all Globe newsletters. here.
Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter on climate change, the environment and resources in Canada.
Mental health experts urge parents to talk to their children about “eco-anxiety” and then help them find ways to act on climate issues.
“This is a major existential threat to all of us with a lot of pretty scary images and stories associated with it,” says Sean Kidd, chief of psychology at the Toronto Center for Addiction and Mental Health.
The best way to handle it? Acknowledge their fears and help their attention take action. Read more about it here.
Now, let’s catch up on some other news.
- The lack of diversity in the outdoors is a complicated problem, it turns out that the women of BIPOC are leading the charge to make outdoor activities more accessible.
- Preliminary Estimates of Insurance Costs for British Columbia Floods Point to Huge Looming Bill to Taxpayers
- Rob Carrick: A Home Buyer’s Guide to Managing the Cost of Climate Change Improvements
- Wood, carbon sequestering concrete, the future of green construction. Is the commercial construction industry getting cleaner and greener?
- From the Style Advisor: Watch companies are drawing attention to plastic pollution in the ocean, and a jewelry company is taking on the challenge of creating sustainable balls.
A deeper dive
The business case for leaving ecosystems alone
Kathryn Blaze Baum is an environmental journalist at The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about creating “natural capital”.
When Emmanuel Machado attended the World Natural Capital Forum in Scotland in 2015, his municipality of British Columbia was the only city on the program. All the rest were from the financial sector, environmental organizations, universities or national governments.
As CEO of the town of Gibsons, on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, Mr. Machado brought the unique perspective of local government to the international stage. The previous year, the city had adopted an asset management plan that explicitly recognized natural assets alongside traditional fixed assets; it was a first for North America and, perhaps, the world.
At the time, the conversation about natural actives was in its infancy. Today, momentum is building to recognize unpurchased natural resources as their own asset class. But what exactly are natural assets and how could public or private entities possibly develop them?
The term “natural assets” refers to the stock of natural resources and ecosystems that provide goods and services to governments and their populations. They include wetlands, rivers, lakes, forests, fields, coastal marshes, dunes and soils. The goods and services they provide include drinking water, carbon storage, and stormwater management. Unlike agricultural or mining resources, natural assets are not subject to harvesting or extraction for the purpose of generating cash flow.
The question of how to value natural actives is where things get particularly murky. This is the main dilemma that accounting standard setters face when deciding whether or not to allow the inclusion of natural assets in financial statements. In Canada, this is particularly relevant for the public sector. Why? Because almost 90 percent of Canada’s landmass is owned by the state.
Proponents of including natural assets in the books say it will help, more importantly, policymakers understand the business case for leaving nature alone (or investing in it). As Roy Brooke, executive director of the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, said, “By not including them, governments always place a value on nature – it just happens to be zero.”
-Kathryn Blaze Baum, environmental journalist
Also listen to Kathryn on The Decibel: Putting a price on how nature protects us
What else did you miss
Opinion and analysis
Jason Tchir: Why are British Columbia and Quebec getting new electric vehicles before other provinces?
Merran Smith and Mark Zacharias: Can Canada Really Produce Enough Clean Electricity to Power a Net Zero Grid by 2050?
Jeffrey Jones: Will Alberta waste a $ 61 billion cleantech opportunity?
Why boards need to master the basics of ESG
Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc., has turned the corporate world upside down. After asking companies in BlackRock’s portfolio to provide information on the climate, other major investors and regulators have made similar requests.
There is increasing pressure on directors to speak up on the climate, in addition to other ESG metrics the Globe and Mail has been tracking for 20 years in its annual ranking of board games by Canadian companies. .
Each week, The Globe will feature a Canadian making a difference. This week, we’re highlighting Jack Bruner’s work in climate fintech.
Hi, I’m Jack Bruner, a 30-year-old co-founder of the Carbon Neutral Club, a Toronto-based climate technology start-up. Along with my two co-founders Jeff Packer and Roee Eidan, we discovered that while 90% of Canadians want to reduce their personal impact on the climate, only 15% say they have taken significant steps in this direction. As we dig deeper, we learned that this inaction was the result of most people just not sure where to start.
We quit our jobs at tech companies in Toronto to start the Carbon Neutral Club where we make climate action accessible. Members start by estimating and offsetting their personal carbon footprint and as a reward gain access to year-round savings with over 60 sustainable brands that, such as KOTN, tentree, and Fable, help members reduce their carbon footprint. impact by making more sustainable purchases.
We believe in focusing on progress rather than perfection. Inaction is not a lack of concern for the climate, but a lack of accessibility. Our goal is to make the first step easier by estimating carbon footprints, and then reward those first small changes. En masse, these can change our purchasing behavior as a society to be more respectful of our planet.
Do you know a committed person? Someone who represents the real drivers of change in the country? Write to us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com to tell us about it.
photo of the week
Catching up on Globe Climat
We want to hear from you. Send us an email: GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com. Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.