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What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?: How Money Really Does Grow On Trees Paperback – 10 Jan 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (10 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846685605
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846685606
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Tony Juniper:



'He is by popular consent the most effective of Britain's eco-warriors

(Independent)

One of the top ten environmental figures of the last thirty years (The ENDS Report)

[Tony Juniper] is among the 100 people who are making the decisions that affect your life (Country Life)

A brilliant resume of Nature's New Deal: nurture me and I'll nurture you. (Nick Crane)

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? is a brilliant resume of nature¹s new deal: nurture me and I'll nurture you. (Nick Crane, author and TV presenter)

Juniper explains how the welfare of the human species rests on the assets and services provided by the rest of nature, and makes the case for natural capital to be integral in a new economy fit for the future. (Michael Clarke, Chief Executive, RSPB)

Tony Juniper takes us on a highly readable, personal journey of discovery of nature and our reliance upon it. What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? provides the stories and the numbers to convince others that investing in nature¹s balance sheet is good for the corporate balance sheet. (Jose Lopez, Nestlé)

This book should be on the essential reading list at schools. Without understanding the essence of life - and this is a fantastically modern romp through it - how can our children be expected to make the right decisions? If we ever needed a book to remind us that we are part of nature, not separate from it, this is it. (Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts)

Science Books of the Year ... A readable, timely vision (Robin McKie Observer 2013-12-08)

Book Description

The true value of ecosystems to world economies.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Everything we do and have is based on Nature - our lives, our existence and our economies. The environmental movement has evolved beyond simply protesting about the degradation of the natural environment. Now people like Tony Juniper are showing how utterly dependent we are on finely balanced natural systems and how removing parts of the whole can have disastrous consequences. Taking the Monty Python joke - What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? - and replacing it with What has Nature Ever Done for Us?, Tony Juniper tells compelling stories about how the environment supports economic and social life without many of us realising it. The book is entertaining, informative and easy to read, with a wealth of facts to counter the naysayers who are content to see Nature continue to be ravaged and exploited for short-term gain. This is a wake-up call for us all, and a rollicking good read.
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This book should be essential reading for all students of biology and pehaps it is even more important for people who really don't care much for anything but other themselves or other human beings ......
It shows how we, as a devastatingly powerful force in the world, have done many things that we feel improve our civilisation without realising the full 'costs' associated with benefits that we enjoy - it must be time for all humans to realise that 'ignorance is not bliss' and make sure that the future we will offer succeeding generations is not blighted by our blinkered approach to economic development.
Surely there can be few things more alarming than the photograph of Chinese people perched in trees doing the 'work' of bumblebees, so that the trees will produce fruit ?
Its well written, covers a wide range of issues that are nicely developed using easily appreciated metaphors and with a stunning array of examples - absolutely fascinating !!
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This puts into words what I have felt for a long time- that our natural resources are being destroyed because they are not valued in the way that politicians understand. Perhaps a true economic value placed on what we are losing, may yet help to stem the damage.
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The facts in this accessible natural science book are borne out by many other writers and science papers, and some of the chapters describe well recorded events. Our contribution to the degradation of the natural environment is causing us and the rest of the biosphere harm, is the message, but while we are losing out on the services provided by natural processes there are ways in which we are purposefully helping to restore the balance.

The experiment Biosphere 2 is a focus, perhaps a surprise to those who expect a standard text on pollution. This enclosed dome with seven bio environments from jungle to mangroves was a habitat for a team of eight people for two years. This piece sets the tone of the book, which tells us that nature is brilliantly and intricately engineered by this time and any disruption can reduce our support services. Science is learning how everything operates and what we need to do to restore a balance.

From soil degradation and tree felling to landslides is an easy step to make, but we also need to understand the myriad tiny processes going on in soil - bacteria, fungi etc. A rich fibrous soil is not only more fertile, it captures water better.

We go around the world looking at wetlands in Britain and how the peat shrinks down when drained, then releasing carbon as it dries. From here we go to cities which flood due to storm surges. A mangrove swamp or other wetland, and coral beds, can absorb and soften the blow of a storm or a tsunami as proven in recent years by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina compared to Mitch, or the lands differently affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Also we see the value of an environment in producing oxygen and food - be it on land or sea.
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It doesn't matter if you believe in climate change and/or global warming, this book by Tony Juniper must be read by all - certainly by school children, and then perhaps given away free to the nation. If you ever wantedd to know what damage we are doing to the planet - forget for a moment CO2 emissions and carbon footprints - just in the way we live and treat our environment to the point if we don't change our habits the environment that sustains us, i.e. life, will not be there. Tony's book spells it out for all to understand. It does not paint a pretty picture but it does need to be said.
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By therealus TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 May 2013
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A few years ago I paid a visit to the Hawk Conservancy Trust near Winchester. Besides the usual suspects, the sanctuary at the time featured an enclosure of truly sad profundity, containing a handful of the few remaining Indian vultures, held there for safe keeping whilst back in India a solution was sought for their plight, caused by the use of an anti-inflammatory drug in cattle which had killed millions of vultures as they performed their job as nature's dustbin.

Vultures often get a bad press. Calling someone a vulture implies a lack of scruples, but in reality vultures are graceful fliers and useful scavengers, their use value given by Juniper in this book at $34bn in India alone. Without the vultures diseased carcasses are not cleared so efficiently, and there has been a surge in numbers of feral dogs which has led to an escalation in attacks on humans, often leading to rabies and death.

This is just one of a number of case studies used by Juniper in this readable and informative book to demonstrate just what it is nature has done for us. It's a mix of bad and good news. Awareness of the role played by natural agents - birds, bees, mangrove swamps, trees - is rising, but not enough is being done still to prevent their wholesale eradication and destruction. There is not only too much talk of mitigation instead of prevention, there isn't even enough actual mitigation.

In some ways Juniper is wrong that economists don't have the tools to cope with the situation.
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