3.12 Measuring and protecting Canada’s natural accounts

The Greens support extending Canada’s existing system of national accounts to include measures of annual changes in the depletion of and addition to Canada’s principal biological resources. Wild fish, natural forests, and productive agricultural soils represent some of the real wealth of a nation. It is felt that as depletion or addition to fish, trees, and soils takes place, these should be reflected in measures of Canada’s worth.

A serious analysis must be made of the economic costs/values/benefits of key ecological functions. This will allow better public policies and more comprehensive statements about the true economic value of biodiversity as a whole.

Purely economic measurements – such as GDP – ignore key factors underpinning well-being. The Green Party believes that the application of an evaluation method that seeks to account for key social, environmental, and long-term economic features in different parts of the country and local communities could provide new insights and rationales for the conservation of local and regional biodiversity. These tools stand to play a key role in making citizens aware of the attributes of strong biodiversity, and help achieve the intent of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Greens will continue to support ‘quality of life’ evaluation methods such as the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as a means to improve quality of life and protect biodiversity. The Green Party will also support research into the economics of protecting biodiversity and the development of fiscal tools to limit the negative impact of human activity on the Ecosphere. Eliminating capital gains on donations of ecologically significant land and more appropriate land-use taxes are key measures to limit demand-side pressures on biodiversity (see Part 1: The Green Economy).