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green growth

Lisa Mandle, Zhiyun Ouyang, James Salzman and Gretchen C Daily (Eds)
Island Press, £26.00

For more than two decades environmental economists have promoted the concept of ‘natural capital’ to account for the value of nature to our health and economies. During this time we have moved from conceptual thinking to practical application. This book provides real-life examples of policy and finance mechanisms from around the world, from European cities to coastal communities in the Caribbean.

Green Growth That Works is born out of Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project and its collaboration with the Chinese central government. It is a good textbook for other governments too, as well as people who work on the ground. Unless you are a natural capital aficionado, it is worth taking heed of the authors’ advice and diving into the themes that fit your interests.

If you have ever wondered how market-based transactions for nature work or how to build a partnership between governments, businesses, NGOs and local people, this could be the book for you. It gives familiar examples from stormwater management in Washington DC to reforestation in Costa Rica, but also delves into emerging projects in cities and from world powers such as China.

This book shows that bringing people and economies into nature conservation and management projects helps engage with stakeholders, and incorporates different values and knowledge into the planning process. It’s all about people and partnerships, and we need both scientific and societal support to make green growth work.

Green Growth That Works is also an eye-opener for the important role of government regulation and financial support in most projects. Without a nudge and some serious funding, it is difficult to scale up even successful work.

Minna Hartikainen