This month’s Wired has a great article about a new set of ‘eco-capitalists’ that are raising funds to buy up large tracts of rainforest in Borneo and elsewhere–in order to do nothing at all with it.
As the piece explains:
They’re investments. The return will come from deals with companies shopping for pollution offsets or with NGOs and governments that will pay to protect the planet’s wild places — not because they’re pretty, but because they perform a service.
The eco-capitalists are coming, and they aren’t wielding Thoreauvian platitudes about the sanctity of nature. Their jargon is far less lyrical: ecological assets, environmental markets, ecosystem services, natural capital. For these guys, biofuels and long-lasting lightbulbs are fine but they’re nothing more than a short-term play. The real money is in nascent markets indexed to the health of Mother Nature.