The Economical Value of Everything

Mindlessly firing off press releases into the junk email folders of many, like a compassionate archer, presents crossroads, either: a) fade into mental obscurity only interrupted by a twinge of RSI, or b) formulate a sceptical view of the world and present it as callous astuteness. I have taken the latter option. It’s often a question of probability which path I tread. The deciding factor in this instance, as I watch Outlook folders fade into nothingness, only to appear again with a 28 character differentiation, was this sentence: “Paying rubber tappers a fair wage retains the economic value of the forest”. 

The apparent fight of nature for nature’s sake has adopted the weapons of the nature’s incumbent opposition: the economy. The borders of the planet have become turgid; expanding forth in search of materials, fertile land and ample opportunities for economic growth infringes, irrevocably, on the settlements of others. The previous two centuries have raised few qualms when the inhabitants of this land are indigenous nomads and settlers. There has been little guilt in eschewing native peoples who live off agriculture, and who also bear the due respect and duty to protect it. Treaties with implications denoting a travesty to fairness have been signed and so-called savages have been smoked out of their habitats, left to nurture the soil in the most morbid of ways.

Conversely, a reaction to this besieging of, for example, the Amazon rainforest, has been for native rapper tappers to follow suit and capitalise on the imposed new order, to make the land baron for bucks. The Amazon now unsavourily begins as an edged beginning and end. Straight lines in nature aren’t meant to exist. Replacing the growth of thirsty roots, waving foliage and un-ruled passage are cattle farms and landscaped wounds caused by the timber trade. The Amazon is more viable for the space it dominates or capacity to cordon off for cow enclosures and crafted cabinets.

Activists wishing to preserve the hyper-diversity of the Amazon, the innumerable value of the multitude of species of plants and wildlife alike, are beginning to fight beyond sentimentality and principles of dominionship.  Sourcing raw materials for production from the Amazon, my point an example being rubber (which only grows wildly in the rainforest), is a backwards step in Ford-esque mass production. The final bill swells and the feasible way to realistically compete in the market place counteracts the fundamental staple of commercialism, advertising and marketing.

 A paradox of sorts is thus created, the implementation of fair trade principles and breathing economic viability into the Amazon has become the supporting pillar for many eco-businesses. The taste and style of the end products exist as supporting beams to dissuade brand loyalty, encouraging sales to continue the crusade to save the planet. 

Only indisputably tentative links can be drawn: coins in slots keep the momentum of the world on its axis, yet the Earth as the thriving respiratory system of growth, atmosphere and eco-structure depends on use of it sustainably. The eco-fight reaps most benefits in a financial trajectory. Moral outrage and a sense of shared responsibility are negated; dashing paint on fur coats, parading outside Volkswagen’s design company donning Stormtrooper costumes and mobilising armies with placards no longer produces efficacy.

Going green is the aphorism that pervades over environmental causes. References to the green dollar can be duly compared. Rubber tappers now don polo shirts and shop bought tools as they continue to negotiate their native trades with the rapidity of Western supply and demand. This is an illuminated sign that sentimentality is waning in the purchase of the consumer. Torn and worn garments can slide off as easily as a card swipes through a chip and pin machine to replace them. Rubber can be grown and distributed artificially wherever the elaborate shovel of big business chooses to break land.

 It makes perfect sense that the very natural world must also fritter down to monetary worth. Few people will travel into the midst of the Amazon, far fewer who would ardently protest if the Tower of London were to be tarmacked or the Grand Canyon were proposed to be filled. Therein lies the morose truth: staples of sentiment, wonder and beauty will remain untouched as long as queues still form and the brevity of the botanic is felt continents away from the consumer. 

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