On this we can agree: the relationship between people and the natural world is broken. We fail to value the systems that keep us alive. We treat both natural resources and the biosphere’s capacity to absorb our waste as if they were worth nothing.
The obvious answer is to place a financial value on what used to be called nature, but has now been rebranded natural capital. There are some magnificent examples of how this could, in principle, spare us from perverse decisions. As The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity points out, if you turn a hectare of mangrove forest into shrimp farms you’ll make $1,220 per year. Leave it standing, and the benefits are worth ten times that amount(1).