We had a successful virtual lab meeting, of welfare check-ins, and exciting updates on Masters programmes, new jobs, international workshops, and research projects.
We also discussed W.M. Adam’s “The value of valuing nature“, and discussed the (in)congruencies between efforts to place monetary values on nature, and our interests in conservation. We noted relevant cases where valuing nature has been used ‘against’ conservation aims. This includes recent debate and protest over the development of a new airport and Jeep safari in Shivapuri National Park, Nepal where economic arguments have been levered in ways that overlook the diverse and long-term values of ecosystems and biodiversity. Despite the limitations of valuation, we also acknowledged the continual push to communicate with friends and colleagues who struggle to engage unless we use economic arguments. However, there is a struggle in arguing that economic valuation tool can be used in some circumstances, but should not be used in others (i.e. when it doesn’t support conservation aims).