Social change requires the harnessing of social forces, and the more powerful the force, the more fundamental the change. Moral outrage, a yearning for justice, and the desire for connection are all forces that have propelled social change movements throughout history. They will continue to fuel social change now and in the future.
But there is a very powerful force shaping the world we live in today that is not yet aligned fully with the environmental values that many of us hold, and that is the search for profit and well being through the investment of capital and labor — the profit motive. Indeed, the profit motive has prevailed time and again over countervailing forces like ethical commitments to environmental stewardship, the desire for long-term economic well being, and even over the force of government regulation.
In a previous blogpost, I summarized a recent publication that lays out a strategy for aligning the profit motive with the conservation of coastal ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, storm surge protection, and recreational value — services that are usually unpriced by conventional markets, and so become subject to degradation. The goal is to reverse alarming trends in mangrove deforestation, salt marsh dredging, and nearshore pollution by shaping markets that value these services, allowing people to do well by doing good. Read More