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Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in Global Biodiversity Politics

ISBN: 978-1-118-64055-5
312 pages
August 2016
Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in Global Biodiversity Politics (1118640551) cover image


Enterprising Nature explores the rise of economic rationality in global biodiversity law, policy and science. To view Jessica's animation based on the book's themes please visit http://www.bioeconomies.org/enterprising-nature/

  • Examines disciplinary apparatuses, ecological-economic methodologies, computer models, business alliances, and regulatory conditions creating the conditions in which nature can be produced as enterprising
  • Relates lively, firsthand accounts of global processes at work drawn from multi-site research in Nairobi, Kenya; London, England; and Nagoya, Japan
  • Assesses the scientific, technical, geopolitical, economic, and ethical challenges found in attempts to ‘enterprise nature’
  • Investigates the implications of this ‘will to enterprise’ for environmental politics and policy
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Table of Contents

Acronyms vi

Series Editors’ Preface ix

Preface x

1 Enterprising Nature 1

2 The Problem and Promise of Biodiversity Loss 28

3 An Ecological-Economic Tribunal for (Nonhuman) Life 56

4 Ecosystem Services as Political-Scientific Strategy 91

5 Protecting Profit: Biodiversity Loss as Material Risk 126

6 Biodiversity Finance and the Search for Patient Capital 159

7 Multilateralism vs. Biodiversity Market-Making: Battlegrounds to Unleash Capital 192

8 The Tragedy of Liberal Environmentalism 232

References 246

Index 276

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Author Information

Jessica Dempsey is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, Canada.


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‘Jessica Dempsey’s Enterprising Nature is necessary reading for understating the critical geographies of how market forces, biodiversity, environmentalism, and all kinds of so-called experts try, and often fail, to dictate the terms of conservation politics the world over. The book is fresh, robust, and offers healthy doses of both scepticism and deep insights into the battles that need to be fought.’
Nik Heynen, Professor of Geography, University of Georgia, USA

‘Dempsey’s Enterprising Nature is a must-read for all conservationists. From the vantage of political ecology, Dempsey provides a sympathetic but ringing critique of the ecosystem services paradigm. Nonetheless, her fresh analysis ultimately points towards a new and hopeful pathway - by forging unexpected collaborations among scientists, social movement activists, and scholars of power dynamics, she imagines reclaiming an “abundant biodiversity”, as well as the ecosystem services it supplies.’
Claire Kremen, Professor in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, USA

‘Through arguments with which liberal environmentalists will struggle to find fault, Dempsey carefully excavates the foundations of the global biodiversity industry, and finds them rotten. This is a compassionate and intelligent book, one that helps us ask far deeper questions about humans relations with the world than the mainstream environmental movement dare broach.’
Raj Patel, Research Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, USA

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