Video: Enterprising Nature

Is monetarily valuing nonhuman nature the way to save it? Many ecologists, bureaucrats, and activists now believe that the only way to slow the decimation of non-human life on earth is to create the conditions within which saving nonhuman lives can be seen as an economically rational and even profitable endeavor. They seek to create an enterprising nature. This video examines the many tools and practices involved in this attempt to create economically rational conservation. The video also explores political struggles over the idea of making nature “economic” and over emerging rankings of nature, of different species and ecosystems.


Produced and Directed: Darcy Van Poelgeest / Illustrations: Edward Juan / Narration: Megan Leitch/Animation and Credits: David Murawsky/Composer: Marc Bjorknas/Production Company: LIS Entertainment ( Sound Kitchen Studios Vancouver/Script editing services: Words & Company


  • Why do some environmental actors think that it is necessary to put a price tag on biodiversity?
  • What is “enterprising nature”? What are some of the challenges that people face when they try to create it?
  • Why do some people disagree with the idea of translating nature into monetary units?
  • How might we pursue a more abundant, biodiverse future without reproducing the injustices of the past?
  • What alternatives approaches are already being brought into being in diverse socio-ecological landscapes around the world? What new alliances for biodiversity conservation are possible?


Source material:

Dempsey, J. 2016. Enterprising Nature. Wiley-Blackwell.

Academic resources:

Büscher, Bram, Sian Sullivan, Katja Neves, Jim Igoe and Dan Brockington. 2012. “Towards a Synthesized Critique of Neoliberal Biodiversity Conservation.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 23(2): 4-30.

McAfee, Kathleen. 1999. “Selling Nature to Save it? Biodiversity and Green Developmentalism.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 17(2): 133–54.

Sullivan, Sian. 2013. “Banking Nature? The Spectacular Financialisation of Environmental Conservation.” Antipode 45(1): 198–217

Robertson, Morgan. 2012. “Measurement and Alienation: Making a World of Ecosystem Services.” Transactions 37: 386–401.

Other resources:

Monbiot, G. 2014. “The Pricing of Everything.”

CBC News. 2016. “Banking Nature.” Passionate Eye (video).

La Antena and AttacTV. “Stop the Takeover of Nature by Financial Markets” (video).

Sukhdev, Pavan. 2012. “Put a Value on Nature!” TED talk (video).