22 May 2015
Few nations, if any, keep records of the vast array of ecosystem services and biodiversity assets. UNDP Photo
‘And not everything that can be counted counts.’ So goes the oft-quoted adage by Albert Einstein. Wise words no doubt and, despite their overuse, I make no apology for repeating them. Indeed every time I hear them, either verbatim, or paraphrased, as someone working to conserve ecosystems and biodiversity, I feel encouraged.
So often, they apply to our work, to the multitude of threats that have been wrecking the natural world driven by dollars rather than sense and, most importantly to the many potential solutions that lie within our reach.
Here is another quote. Rather less celebrated. Never before in print, in fact. It came from the lips of a friend, watching something small and furry, and fearing the worst upon its discovery in her lavender beds. “What a precious vole!” she said, caring, delighted surprise all too apparent both in her face and voice.
While scientists might deride the emotion when used to describe a species, we’d still agree with “precious” as appropriate, given that in terms of food chains and ecological balance, the vole is an essential piece in the complex jigsaw that comprises a viable ecosystem. Other people might see nothing particularly precious, at all.
The UNDP, practically …