Ecological Infrastructure: A Worthy Investment
No species is separate from nature, never was, never will be, never can be. Our human species (like all other species) depends on and contributes to the functioning of ecosystems.
The "transactions" in ecosystems include exchanges of energy, and a range of interdependencies, as well as competition, cooperation and diversity. The "transactions" in the economy involve a similar set of exchanges.
The ancient Greek word "Oikos" is the root word for both 'ecology' and 'economy' and why we are called "Ekos". The wisdom of ecological design has deep roots in our cultures and is far from foreign or new. It just needs to be continually rediscovered and applied in practical ways that fit the times.
Most of us understand the need for infrastructure to support and enable our economy and wellbeing. Water, energy, waste management, transportation, communications, self defence... Without sufficient investments in infrastructure, the services we enjoy from them cannot endure.
Ecosystems are also 'infrastructure' - they provide beneficial services to our wellbeing. Rainforests for example provide water quality, water supply, flood protection, drought mitigation, climate resilience, nutrient cycling services. These services are central to our economy, and nature provides them for free - until we damage nature through economic activity that degrades ecosystems and the services they provide. A smart economy takes advantage of nature's helpers by nurturing them, by investing in their maintenance and durability.