Harnessing the Power of Nature to Combat Climate Change
Professor Jane Stout talks to Chris Caldwell about biodiversity, natural capital accounting, and bridging the economy-ecology divide
So many of the tenets of modern economics – from commodification and simplification to substitution and maximisation – seem to run counter to foundational truths of ecology such as holism, complexity, and the incommensurability of value.
As we face both the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction (in large part due to the excesses of capitalism) we have to wonder if there is a way back.
Can economics and ecology work together again?
This episode’s guest believes so. Jane Stout - Professor of Botany and VP of Biodiversity and Climate Action at Trinity College Dublin - is a deep domain expert in the academic field of ecology and biodiversity, with over 120 papers and €4 million in research funding to her name.
She is also a leading figure in influencing nature and climate policy in her home country, particularly by engaging economically as co-founder of Natural Capital Ireland.
"… you think about your petri dish of soil or your spoonful of soil from the ground … there's connections in that little ecosystem, but there are connections across the whole world and everything's connected."
"… the ecological viewpoint of connectivity about humans being part of nature, about the physical environment and the living environment being intricately intertwined, has, of course, shaped everything I do and everything that I think about."
"… I think being an ecologist gives you a fantastic perspective. It's kind of overwhelming, but it does give you that perspective about the fundamental importance of nature in our lives and that connectivity."
"…and I like to think of sustainability as as as the sort of the wedding cake idea of the environment: the biosphere, the living world underpinning our societies which underpin our economies."
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We talk about how the scope of the challenge before us is beyond that of any one individual or any one solution. We listen to thinkers, researchers, policymakers, and business leaders. They discuss a diversity of ideas and solutions to global climate and environmental issues and why they matter.
Season 2 is presented by Chris Caldwell and produced by UNITED RENEWABLES in association with LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL, ALUMNI ENERGY CLUB.