The crisis of values ​​is in turn responsible for the crisis of climate change and biodiversity

The values ​​crisis shows the continued dominance of a limited set of values ​​that, according to a study published in , have proven insufficient to solve the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change Nature. In addition, the study identifies four “values-based approaches” that can create the necessary conditions for transformative change towards a fairer and more sustainable future: recognizing the diversity of values ​​related to nature, incorporating these diverse values ​​into decision-making in all areas of reform policy and institutional frameworks; and changing societal norms to support values ​​oriented toward sustainability.

The authors point out that currently market-based values ​​of nature B. those associated with intensively produced food tend to outweigh those associated with other contributions of nature: adaptation to climate change or the maintenance of cultural identities. Scientists consider them equally important for the realization of just and sustainable societies.

At the same time the Measures to preserve biological diversity (such as the development of protected area networks) have also often given priority to limited natural values. They have often marginalized the values ​​of local communities and indigenous peoples, who in many cases have ensured the biodiversity protection of their lands.

In order to achieve a fairer and more sustainable future, it is important to move away from the dominance of short-term benefits

According to the authors of the study, this is essential for a fairer and more sustainable future break away from the dominance of short-term gains and economic growth at any cost, which has been sustained to the detriment of incorporating the many values ​​of nature into economic and political decisions.

“It is more urgent than ever to better understand how and why private and public decision-makers (under)value nature, and while it is positive that global agreements such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework for Biodiversity and the Targets Sustainable Development Goals .” While the SDGs call for inclusive and participatory processes to translate the values ​​of nature into action, dominant environmental and development policies continue to prioritize a limited subset of (market-based) values ​​of nature,” says the study coordinator Unai PascualIkerbasque Professor at the Research Center Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3) and co-chair of the Values ​​of Nature reportvalue assessment”) of the Intergovernmental Science and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Combine values ​​with policy changes

The article is from the publication of the report in July 2022 value assessment, endorsed by all 139 IPBES member states. It summarizes and highlights the main findings of the report one more review over 50,000 scientific publications, political documents and various sources based on knowledge about indigenous peoples and local communities. With this evidence, the study’s authors propose combinations of “value-based approaches” to ultimately harness the changes needed to transform current institutional structures and decisions that negatively impact sustainability and social justice.

What is missing is the willingness or ability of governments and other key stakeholders to use these methods and integrate them into their decision-making systems.

Unai Pascual, Ikerbasque Professor

In all societies there deep values and ingrained ones based on societal and even legal norms (like diligence and fairness) and specific rationales for why people care for nature. The so-called instrumental values ​​stand out here – for example when nature is perceived as an economic good –, intrinsic values ​​– when one wants to take care of nature from an ethical or moral point of view – and relational values ​​arise from a deep relationship with nature, such as the Sense of belonging to a territory or collective identities. All those kinds of natural assets can be measured with a variety of assessment methods based on different types of indicators or metrics of economic, environmental and socio-cultural values.

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“The scientific community has developed a wide range of assessment methods. What is missing is the willingness or ability of governments and other key stakeholders to apply these methods and integrate them into their decision-making systems in a way that takes into account representation, equity and power relations between different parties involved in the assessment processes,” says Pascual.

Redefine development and well-being

Based on these insights, the authors of the study call for a balance between the values ​​underlying societal structures (e.g. legal institutions) by promoting firmly anchored values ​​such as e.g Caring, solidarity, responsibility, reciprocity and justiceboth to people and to nature.

The study also argues that balancing decision scales, taking into account nature’s multiple values, is essential to achieving a goal real transformative change to address the current biodiversity crisis and climate emergency, which are closely linked to other issues such as increasing pollution, the emergence of pandemics and environmental injustices. This requires redefining the concepts of “development” and “well-being” and recognizing the multiple relationships people have with one another and with the natural world.

Our analysis shows that the best way to achieve the Global Goals is to mainstream nature’s diverse values ​​into all aspects of society and our economy.

Unai Pascual, Ikerbasque Professor

The work further emphasizes that recognizing and embracing alternative worldviews enhances the values ​​of The indigenous peoples and local communitiesand the institutions that support their rights and territories also enable more inclusive politics, which inherently leads to better outcomes for people And for nature.

“Our analysis shows that the best option we have to achieve global goals such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework and the SDGs is to connect the diverse values ​​of nature across all aspects of society and our economy.” , concludes Pascual.


Pascual et al. 2023. “Nature’s Diverse Values ​​for Sustainability.” Nature.

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