But calculating the value of services that the environment provides us has become a useful tool. And, though some greens may cry and say that nature shouldn't be valued in dollars, I say that it can be valued in many ways and dollars have their place.
So, hats off to Robert Costanza who, in 1997, calculated the services the Earth provides humans to be worth roughly 33 trillion dollars per year. Wham! Take that global economy! You think you're so big with your billions of dollars in trade revenue...try 33 trillion a year, and it's not even trying.
Costanza and crew have just embarked on another, even larger project. They hope to make it simple for anyone in the world to determine the economic value of any particular place on the planet.
"Land use planners, county commissioners, investment bankers, anyone who is interested," Cosntanza said, "will be able to go on the Web, use our new models, and be able to identify a territory and start getting answers."
They've got a huge base of experts working on the project already, along with an $860,000 grant. In terms of fees, getting paid $860,000 to appraise something worth roughly $33 trillion is a pretty harsh deal. But, then again, we're not in it for the money are we Mr. Costanza.