Nature matters simply because it does, but also because it brings people huge emotional value, it delivers a wide range of valuable goods and services that are of practical benefit to society, and much of the emotional and practical value that it generates. We know that the natural environment provides us with a wide range of ‘ecosystem services’: all the things that people need and want that come from the natural world of which human beings are a part. Some recognize that nature and wildlife have intrinsic value.
They are valuable in their own right and we have a moral responsibility to look after them, irrespective of any benefit humans might get from them. Many draw emotional value from nature and wildlife. Seeing it, or even just knowing it is there, makes us feel good. We enjoy it. Unquestionably, nature provides goods and services to us that are of practical value to us and to the rest of society. Food production, flood control and improved physical and mental health and wellbeing all have practical, societal value.
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And many (but certainly not all) aspects of nature, the goods and services that it provides, can be bought and sold. They have financial value.