Albert Einstein once declared,
"If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live."
You may ask, what does the bee have to do with man's survival? Yet Einstein touches on a simple truth; that the welfare of mankind is intimately woven with the environment in which we live and those with whom we share it. Whether the food we eat courtesy of pollinators such as the bee, the wood from trees that we burn to keep warm or build dwellings, or the oil we drill to drive engines, the natural world provides mankind many services."
What is Nature Worth?
This is not a question we often consider.
Nature provides us many services. These are called Ecosystem Services. Some of these services are obvious, like the food we eat, the wood we use as building material, and the energy we use to heat our homes and fuel our vehicles. Yet nature provides us many other services.
- Plants counteract climate change
- Wetlands purify water
- Worms turn waste into soil
- Microbes in the ocean produce half the oxygen we breath
- and much much more...
In 1997 the value of all ecosystem services delivered by nature was set at $33 trillion, almost twice the value of all human economic activity.1
Yet we do not seem to value these services, and human activity is damaging them.
1 Costanza, Robert, et al. "The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital." nature 387.6630 (1997): 253-260.
i2P Examines Ecosystem Services in Peru
In order to gain a clear appreciation for ecosystem services during the expedition i2P will focus upon 8 ecosystem elements found in Peru:
Oxygen, Water, Potato, Coca, Mahogany Tree, Quinine, Mosquito and Gold
Youth Ambassadors will be asked to observe the environment through which they are traveling and identify the role played by each of these ecosystem elements. The simple questions will be asked:
- What ecosystem service does this ecosystem element offer?
- What monetary value does mankind assign to the ecosystem element?
- Is human activity having an effect on this ecosystem service ?
- Is this ecosystem service sustainable?
- If not sustainable, how can the behavior of humanity be adapted to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem service?
In considering these quesSons the Youth Ambassadors will be asked to consider the sustainability, adaptability and resiliency of ecosystem services, and consider if the value that humanity assigns to each ecosystem element is just.
Ecosystem Services — 4 Categories
Supporting services: ecosystem services "that are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services">
- nutrient dispersal and cycling
- seed dispersal
- Primary production
Provisioning services: "products obtained from ecosystems"
- food (including seafood and game), crops, wild foods, and spices
- minerals (including diatomite)
- pharmaceuticals, biochemicals, and industrial products
- energy (hydropower, biomass fuels)
Regulating services: "benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes"
- carbon sequestration and climate regulation
- waste decomposition and detoxification
- purification of water and air
- crop pollination
- pest and disease control
Cultural services: "nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreaSon, and aesthetic experiences"
- cultural, intellectual and spiritual inspiration
- recreational experiences (including ecotourism)
- scientific discover
How i2P Education Works
Twice a year impossible2Possible selects five lucky youth between the ages of 17 - 21 to serve as 'Youth Ambassadors' on expeditions designed to complement school curriculum. Youth Ambassadors serve as the eyes and ears of students following in classrooms, relating to them real life learnings they experience in the field. Each remarkable expedition route is carefully chosen to highlight an academic curriculum designed by i2P and Simon Fraser University. State of the art information technology; video, text, images and sound allow Youth Ambassadors and participating classrooms to communicate from the field through social media sites and the i2P expedition website. The real life experience of an i2P expedition awaken and enhance a students' interest in the core curriculum of primary and secondary school education.
For More Information
i2P Educational Coordinator and Logistics
i2P Social Network Advisor and Logistics