Earth Economics

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Earth Economics
Earth Economics Logo.jpg
Founded 1998
Founders David Batker, Joshua Reyneveld, Jim Puckett, Annie Leonard, Isabel de la Torre
Type 501(3)(c)
Focus Ecological Economics, Tools for Decision Makers
Headquarters Tacoma, Washington, USA
Area served Local, National, International
Product Green Job Analysis, Ecosystem Service Valuation, Restoration and Conservation Funding Mechanism Development, and other economic analysis tools
Key people Earth Economics Team
Slogan Applying the economic solutions of tomorrow, today.
Website http://www.eartheconomics.org

Earth Economics, a 501c3 non-profit headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, United States, is dedicated to researching and applying the economic solutions of tomorrow today. Earth Economics provides robust, science-based, ecologically-sound, economic analysis, policy and tools to governments, agencies, non governmental organizations (NGOs), and grassroots organizations. This information is intended to positively transform international, national and regional economic systems and business accounting practices, towards a sustainable economy. Earth Economics has a small in-house staff of economists that collaborate with experts in economics, ecology, hydrology, policy and systems modeling.[1]

Mission statement[edit]

Earth Economics applies new economic tools and principles to meet the challenges of the 21st century: achieving the need for just and equitable communities, healthy ecosystems, and sustainable economies.

History[edit]

Since 1998, Earth Economics has been promoting science-based economics to change local and international policy on ecosystem health, fisheries, forests, mining, energy, multilateral institutions, international finance, and toxics. The organization was initially founded as a project of the Tides Center by five activists from various fields. Its original name was Asia-Pacific Environmental Exchange (APEX). Over the ensuing years, Earth Economics evolved into a successful, autonomous organization and received IRS 501(c)3 tax exempt, public charity status in March 2006. Earth Economics a track record of improving environmental and economic issues, working alongside NGOs, private businesses and local, state and federal jurisdictions. In 2009, one of the organization’s projects, The Basel Action Network (aka BAN) which focuses on toxics in the environment, spun-off to form an independent 501c(3) non-profit.

Program of Work[edit]

Ecosystem Service Valuations:
Working with public, private and NGO agencies, Earth Economics’ Ecosystem Service Valuation (ESV) studies quantify the value of the goods and services provided by regional ecosystems. This valuation justifies the shift of investment toward environmental preservation and/or restoration.

Economic Environmental Impact Statements:
Working with planners, policy makers and private consulting firms, Earth Economics provides justification for specific projects and scenarios based on environmental economic analysis.

Green Jobs Analysis:
Working with local and regional economists, agencies, businesses and jurisdictions, Earth Economics analyzes the jobs that will be created, maintained, or lost by doing or not doing a project.

Accounting and Management Strategies:
Working with public utilities, businesses, large land owners and managers, Earth Economics identifies, and helps clients adopt, new management approaches that value ecosystem services in addition to built infrastructure and raw materials.

Scenario Mapping and Modeling:
Working with leading systems modelers, ecologists and hydrologists, Earth Economics analyzes ecosystem services such as freshwater provisioning, carbon sequestration, flood protection, biodiversity and hurricane protection. This information is used to provide current and future maps showing ecosystem services provisioning, beneficiaries and damage under different planning scenarios.

Funding Mechanisms for Conservation and Restoration:
Working with local and state jurisdictions, Earth Economics applies innovative approaches to fund critical natural infrastructure and conservation work.

Educational Outreach:
Working with philanthropic organizations, environmental and policy NGOs, schools and public agencies, Earth Economics conducts workshops, lectures and media events to increase awareness about ecological economics.

Conversion of Built Capital to Sustainable Function:
Working with the electronic recycling industry, paper mills and other industries, Earth Economics helps catalyze the shift from unsustainable to sustainable technology and industrial processes.

Accomplishments[edit]

Earth Economics has produced dozens of studies and done hundreds of presentations since their founding in 1998.[citation needed] Some of their most noteworthy accomplishments include:

  • Providing the economic argument for not drilling for oil in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park and helping to set up a multi-billion dollar international fund for Amazon forest protection which resulted in international agreements to leave Ecuador’s largest oil reserves in the ground. Soon after, Ecuador became the first OPEC nation to recognize climate change, peak oil and the need to conserve critical ecosystem services.
  • Working with local partners to help the Army Corps of Engineers realize the physical and economic value of Louisiana’s wetlands for hurricane protection, which resulted in the first Corps’ cost-benefit analysis exemption and application of multi-criteria decision making to include economics, public safety and wetland restoration.
  • Establishing the world’s first electronic recycling certification program, which resulted in tripling the profits for the industry’s greenest recyclers and shifting 40% of world trade in electronic waste.
  • Working with governments and the fishing industry to develop a framework for converting the spot prawn fisheries to the world’s highest value, most sustainable and first trap-only shrimp industry, resulting in increased incomes for local communities through fair[clarification needed] pricing (from $3 per lb to $12–18 per lb).
  • Working with industry and Washington leadership to define voluntary industrial indicators for the pulp and paper mill industry resulting in increased environmental efficiency and profitability for participating mills.
  • Demonstrating the economic value of coastal mangrove systems, resulting in new national policies for adoption and protection in the Philippines including mangrove replanting, a moratorium on shrimp aquaculture and increased reforestation efforts.
  • Providing economic analysis and studies on international lending and environmental impacts, resulting in upgraded lending standards at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, InterAmerican Development Bank, and 35 export credit agencies and strengthened environmental impact assessment and indigenous people’s policies.

Training the Next Generation[edit]

Earth Economics has provided training and practical experience to over 160 post-doc, graduate and undergraduate students in the form of thesis work, practicums and internships. At any one time, they have 3-8 interns training at Earth Economics. University partnerships include University of Maryland, University of Vermont, Louisiana State University, Duke University, Pacific Lutheran University, University of Washington, Washington State University, Seattle Pacific University, The Evergreen State College, Oregon State University, Portland State University, FLACSO University, Andian University of Simon Bolivar. Paid internship positions ranging in length from 6–12 months are posted on their website.

Publications[edit]

All publications can be viewed free of charge on the Earth Economics publications page. Some of their publications are on ISSU in magazine format.

2013:
What is your plane worth? A handbook for understanding natural capital
Return on Investment Analysis of Flood Risk Management Solutions for Pierce County

2012:
Aquatic Benefits of British Columbia’s Lower Mainland Nearshore: Natural Capital Valuation (with David Suzuki Foundation)
Valuing Nature's Benefits: An Ecological Economic Assessment of Iowa's Middle Cedar Watershed
The Natural Value of Thurston County: A Rapid Ecosystem Service Valuation
Factsheet: 2010 Puget Sound Restoration and Protection
Factsheet: 2011 Puget Sound Restoration and Protection
Ecological Economic Rapid Valuation of the environmental impacts related to land use changes on Industrias Infinito property after resolution 244-2008-SCH of the Conservation Area of Arenal Huetar Norte (with Fundación Neotropica)
Nature’s Value in the McKenzie Watershed: A Rapid Ecosystem Service Valuation
Economic Impact of Metro Parks Tacoma Ecosystem Services: Economic Impact Study Phase II
Puget Sound: Washington State's Best Investment

2011:
What's the Economy For, Anyway? (Book)
How Water Utilities Can Spearhead Natural Capital Accounting
Estudio ecológico de la región de Intag, Ecuador: Impactos ambientales y recompensas potenciales de la minería
Economics of Change: Catalyzing the Investment Shift Toward a Restorative Built Environment
The Puyallup River Watershed: An Ecological Economic Characterization
The Whole Economy of the Snohomish Basin: The Essential Economics of Ecosystem Services

2010:
Conserving Mangrove Ecosystems in the Philippines
Valuing the Puget Sound: Revealing our Best Investments
Towards Implementing the WRIA 9 Salmon Habitat Plan
Water, Ecosystem Services and Opportunity for Seattle Public Utilities
Flood Protection and Ecosystem Services in the Chehalis River Basin
Gaining Ground: The Value of Restoring the Mississippi Delta
Nature's Value in Qinghai Province, China
WRIA 9 Policy Briefs
A New View of our Economy: Nature's Value in the Snoqualmie Watershed

2009:
“What's the Economy for Anyway?” (film)
The Economic Benefits of the Walla Walla Community College Water and Environmental Center Expansion
The Natural Economy of the Nisqually Watershed
WRIA 9 Funding Mechanisms Report: Generating Payments for Ecosystem Services

2008:
An Ecological Economics Approach to Understanding Oregon's Coastal Economy and Environment

2007:
ITT-Yasuní Initiative Conference
ITT-Yasuní Rapid Ecosystem Service Valuation
An Ecological Economic Assessment of King County's Flood Hazard Management Plan

2006:
Assessing the Non-Market Values of Ecosystem Services Provided by Coastal and Marine Systems

2005:
Ecosystem Services Enhanced by Salmon Habitat Conservation in the Green/Duwamish and Central Puget Sound Watershed
Supplemental Ecological Services Study: Tolt River Watershed Asset Management Plan

2004:
Smart Development: An Analysis of 10 Common Myths About Development
Untold Value: Nature's Services in Washington State
A Comparative Analysis of the Inter-American Development Bank's Environmental and Safeguard Compliance Policy – Advance Profile
Failing Grades: A Report Card on the Inter-American Development Bank's Environmental and Safeguard Compliance Policy – Advanced Profile

2002:
The Carbon River Valley Conservation Project: A Lifeline to Mount Rainier National Park

2001:
The Spot Prawn Fishery: A Status Report

1999:
When Trade is Toxic: The WTO Threat to Public and Planetary Health

Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit (EVT)[edit]

Earth Economics has developed the Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit (EVT)global ecosystem service values exchange platform based on a comprehensive library of bibliographic information of published and gray literature primary ecosystem service valuation studies. The Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit provides a platform for researchers to take geographic and physical input and provide economic output to cutting edge science-based ecosystem service modeling and analytical tools. Researchers may use The Library to identify collective knowledge gaps in ecosystem service valuation research, to comment and review others' work and to connect with practitioners needing valuation assistance. Envisioned as an online one-stop-shop for researchers, land managers, policy makers, government agencies and NGOs to find everything they need to get ecosystem services into policy and investment decisions, "the Toolkit" will eventually offer four distinct components: 1) Researcher’s Library of values and formulas (available Dec 2012) 2) SERVES (Simple Effective Resource for Valuing Ecosystem Services), a subscription-based natural capital appraisal computational engine (available June 2013) 3)Referral Service for connecting researchers with agencies needing specific valuation data (tbd) and, 4) Resource Library of downloadable communications tools and other resources specific to ecosystem service valuation (available in part, now). EVT Portal is accessed at http://esvaluation.org.

See also[edit]

References[edit]