Ecosystem services or Nature’s contributions to people?

IPBES has released media summaries of their reports on global land degradation and restoration, and regional biodiversity and ecosystem services assessments. The results of these reports are really important.

Anyone who has been working in this area for the last couple of decades might have noticed that the reports refer to ‘nature’s contributions to people’ (NCP). Where did this term come from and what does it mean?

In a nutshell, it’s a new term for ‘ecosystem services’.

But do we need a new term? The term ‘ecosystem services’ was only established about 20-odd years ago (the concept is centuries’ older). I’ve been working on ecosystem services research for just over 10 years, and NCP came out of the blue for me. I heard about it a few months ago (just before the IPBES reports had been finalised), when a paper was published in Science by a group of well-respected scientists in the ecosystem services field who were involved in the IPBES assessments. Some related papers were published (here and here) in another journal, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. Continue reading

Old habits …

Environmental awareness is definitely more present in the public domain than it was some years ago. Yet it seems to be as a result of a very unbalanced relationship.

At the consumer level (the majority of members of the public) is a growing understanding of the need for environmentally conscious living, and the importance of practices like recycling, buying locally-grown produce, using renewable energy, supporting smaller local companies rather than multinationals, reducing product packaging, composting etc.

At the provider level (most large companies/organisations or governments) is a growing level of deceit and obfuscation, taking advantage of the public’s changing wants and needs, for political or corporate gain, through carefully-worded promotional material, labelling and policy documents. Continue reading