Event Title

Relational values and valuation: challenges, and possibilities

Presentation Abstract

Although the ecological valuation literature has been focused largely on instrumental values, there is increasing recognition that relational values might play a crucial and related role in environmental policy and practice. For example, relational values—as preferences, principles and virtues about human relationships involving nature—are identified as central in the IPBES Conceptual Framework, and recent work has investigated the implications of these for conservation and ecosystem management. But what are the implications of relational values for ecosystem valuation? In this talk, I address this question in three points. First, whereas instrumental or economic values are values of a thing, relational values are values about things, but these too can be quantitatively assessed. Second, whereas economic values are useful in a cost-benefit framework for decision-making, by which valuation outputs are aggregated to inform independent ‘rational’ decisions, relational values are complementary in first assessing whether decisions foster sustainable relationships, which may have spillover benefits for other decisions. Third, whereas economic values presume that human beings are self-interested rational agents who might be incentivized to engage in conservation or restoration—which risks crowding out moral motivations—a relational values approach recognizes explicitly that humans are value-oriented efficient complexity managers whose moral motivations can be crowded in. I illustrate these points by reference to incentive programs like payments for ecosystem services, finance tools like social impact bonds, and a new initiative that links both while addressing the apparently unassailable escalation of consumption (CoSphere).

Session Title

Panel: Towards Resilience Through a Socio-Ecological Paradigm

Conference Track

SSE8: Policy, Management, and Regulations

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE8-505

Start Date

4-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 3:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 3:30 PM Apr 4th, 3:00 PM

Relational values and valuation: challenges, and possibilities

Although the ecological valuation literature has been focused largely on instrumental values, there is increasing recognition that relational values might play a crucial and related role in environmental policy and practice. For example, relational values—as preferences, principles and virtues about human relationships involving nature—are identified as central in the IPBES Conceptual Framework, and recent work has investigated the implications of these for conservation and ecosystem management. But what are the implications of relational values for ecosystem valuation? In this talk, I address this question in three points. First, whereas instrumental or economic values are values of a thing, relational values are values about things, but these too can be quantitatively assessed. Second, whereas economic values are useful in a cost-benefit framework for decision-making, by which valuation outputs are aggregated to inform independent ‘rational’ decisions, relational values are complementary in first assessing whether decisions foster sustainable relationships, which may have spillover benefits for other decisions. Third, whereas economic values presume that human beings are self-interested rational agents who might be incentivized to engage in conservation or restoration—which risks crowding out moral motivations—a relational values approach recognizes explicitly that humans are value-oriented efficient complexity managers whose moral motivations can be crowded in. I illustrate these points by reference to incentive programs like payments for ecosystem services, finance tools like social impact bonds, and a new initiative that links both while addressing the apparently unassailable escalation of consumption (CoSphere).