This new TEEB report is kinda nerdy, but if you are an aquaponic grower it’s vitally important.
TEEB (“The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity”) is a global initiative focused on “making nature’s values visible”. They have just released their latest report; Scientific and Economic Foundations.
Here’s the problem the report addresses: our current food system is loaded with invisible costs: 1) health care costs from pesticide use; 2) antibiotic resistance from rampant antibiotic use in our meat; 3) excessive water use; 4) aquatic dead zones from agricultural runoff; 5) excessive carbon use for food transport; 6) biodiversity loss from clearing land to feed a growing population, etc etc etc…
Here’s one specific example: a forest provides value to every human being: 1) it filters water; 2) it prevents erosion; 3) it sequesters carbon and releases oxygen; and 4) it preserves biodiversity which prevents against infestation, disease, and extinctions which could irreparable harm our entire ecosystem.
So if a large industrial grower clears 1,000 acres of forest to grow more corn, who is paying for this loss of value? Somebody else, or future generations.
In our “free market” form of capitalism, these costs should be taken into account and built into the cost of production. But because these costs are hard to quantify and evaluate, we simply ignore them and stick our heads in the sand like a flock of ostriches.
TEEB is the world’s leading effort to actually put a pricetag on these costs.
As aquaponic growers, we are able to grow the most fruits, vegetables, and fish with the absolute minimum resources necessary. And we can do it without pesticides, without antibiotics and without agricultural runoff. And we can do it local no matter where you are, from cities to deserts, from rooftops to warehouses.
In our “free market” economy, we need to put a price tag on hidden costs in order for aquaponic growers to fully monetize their efficiency.
Can you imagine how much aquaponics would grow if our economy started to charge the true cost of water, carbon, antibiotics, pesticides, deforestation, agricultural runoff, etc? The price of the industrially produced lettuce from 1,000 miles away would go way up, but the aquaponic-grower from your hometown could deliver it without an increase.
This TEEB report is a critical step in that direction.