You don’t have to be an environmentalist to take an interest in environmental protection.Pavan Sukhdev
We can’t stress enough how much the environment is at the centre of who we are. It represents the polar star of our activity, the one that has guided our development. We would not have got this far if we hadn’t always had an environmental perspective.
The benefits of our choices at that time – ever since our foundation – have an even more tangible relevance today. The explosion of environmental concerns in recent years has finally set the pace. And has emphasized the importance of taking a global outlook on the subject.
Despite the hurdles and delays that inevitably occur, the path is set. It is an inescapable route, which depends on both international politics and the individual choices of each one of us in order to succeed.
What is the Tyler Prize?
The fact that the environmental theme comes from afar is testament to the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Established by John and Alice Tyler in 1973 – at a time when few people were concerned about the fate of nature and the world – this prize was one of the first in the “sector” to receive international recognition.
And it is awarded to personalities who have made a decisive contribution to scientific knowledge, with respect to preservation and awareness of what environment means.
Who won the Nobel Prize for the environment?
For this very reason, the Tyler Prize is called the Nobel Prize for the environment. Awarded by the University of Southern California, this year the prize went to two researchers. We are talking about Gretchen Daily and Pavan Sukhdev. The former teaches at Stanford, dealing mainly with natural sciences.
The second – an economist – is a professor at Oxford. Their research over the years has shown that environmentalism is not the love of a walk through mountain forests in search of fresh air. Or rather, not only. Addressing issues concerning the environment also means treating it in economic terms.
Who is Gretchen Daily and what did she discover?
Gretchen Daily’s research has shown that the only possible economic growth is one that takes an ecofriendly view. Not unlike so-called human capital, Daily talks about natural capital.
As a combination of everything that comes from the ground, water and biodiversity. Without natural capital nothing else would be possible.
Who is Pavan Sukhdev and what did he discover?
The work of Pavan Sukhdev – for the United Nations, among others – has opened the eyes of governments around the world. His studies have focused on determining how much deforestation of our natural forests impacts world economies. The conclusion was: clearing land and cutting down entire forests is one of the most uneconomic activities on earth.
Through a series of reports he has therefore shown that there are no advantages to deforestation, but exactly the opposite. As well as deepening our knowledge on how the environmental cycle is interconnected with everything that animates it.
One of his statements that really strikes home: “Ask any farmer forced to rent bees to pollinate his fields, now that the wild populations of these insects are no longer there to do it at no cost. The problem is that bees do not issue an invoice, which is why the value of the services they provide has never been recognised”.
Pretty clear, right?