‘Natural Capital, our wildlife, woodlands, and local culture’

with Myc Riggulsford

Myc Riggulsford

What price do we put on an oak tree, the view across Exmoor, or caring for your grandchildren, and how does society put a value on the world that surrounds us? Most of us can remember when butterflies, birds and bees, and wildflowers filled the countryside, but it’s now strangely quieter.

According to naturalists, nature itself is in crisis. The way we measure our economy doesn’t value an oak tree until it’s cut down and turned into timber for building, or burned as firewood, but that tree may have had a much deeper meaning for the local community, whose ancestors went courting under its branches for several hundred years.

Our Natural Capital is the clean air we breathe, safe water to drink, fish from the sea, good soil to grow crops in and bees to pollinate them, services we get apparently for free, but without which we could not survive. From 2020 the government was supposed to be including Natural Capital alongside Gross Domestic Product in the way we measure our economy, so has that oak tree now got a price?

This talk by science and environment journalist Myc Riggulsford looks at the concept of our Natural Capital, focussing on the special contribution of North Devon in our society today.