To some eyes, the mountainous shrublands that cover the high Andean slopes above Bogotá look like an unproductive wasteland; indeed, that is the meaning of the word páramo, first used by Spanish Conquistadors to describe this wild and remote place. But as I squelch through the wet grasses, breathless with altitude, I am told by Colombian conservationists how valuable this landscape actually is — economically as well as environmentally. Not only does it help to reduce flooding on the plains below, but it also purifies the water used by the people and industry in Bogotá, and it does these jobs much more cheaply than concrete-engineered solutions would cost.
The environment and its services may not be your cup of tea — or indeed glass of fresh Colombian water — but a global revaluation of their economic benefit is under way. Alongside the management of fiscal deficits, banking regulation and packages to stimulate growth, this theme — money growing on trees and in lakes and on hillsides — is now starting to feed into our thinking about the global economy. How best to keep the services provided by nature is a question that is rising in prominence, and fast.
Via Olive Ventures