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

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

Jessica Dempsey

ISBN: 978-1-118-64060-9

Aug 2016

312 pages

In Stock

CAD $113.95


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

  • 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

Series Editor’s Preface vi

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 Enterprising Nature 1

2 The Problem and Promise of Biodiversity Loss 28

3 An Economic-Ecological 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

Bibliography 246

Index 276

Enterprising Nature is a highly thought-provoking book! It is also a really good one, and thanks to Dempsey’s delightfully humorous prose, a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it.’
Julie Guthman, The AAG Review of Books (Volume 6, Issue 1)

Enterprising Nature also speaks to key approaches in feminist political economy — most notably a commitment to uncover the immense amount of work required to sustain those things that appear as universals and givens: nature and capitalism, for example, but also, importantly, pragmatism and utopianism.’ 
Juliane Collard, The University of British Columbia, Canada

‘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