Economics as the Answer to a Sustainable Future
The ecosystem services model plays a critical role in explaining how natural resources can be turned into wild or natural capital. The logic of economics relies on weighing the measurable values of competing choices when making decisions. Through that process, if we value the functions and products of ecosystems that benefit humans or yield welfare to society, we become better stewards of the natural world. For this book’s purposes, ecotourism as a cultural service clearly demonstrates how consumers of outdoor recreation see value in activities like wildlife viewing or hiking in nature. For wild nature to persist, however, it must be part of a larger system that is bound not only by biological ties, but by economic and cultural incentives as well. Since the boundaries that determine human and wild nature’s space are rather fluid and rarely entirely isolated from the other, using ecotourism to help assign nature value is logical. By offering individuals the opportunity to see nature through a variety of lenses, nature can be protected and preserved in different degrees. If nature and wildlife remain outside our human experience, however, inspiring the love and concern necessary for its survival becomes more and more difficult.
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