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Nature™ Inc?

Nature™ Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation
International Conference, 30 June – 2 July 2011, ISS, The Hague, The Netherlands

Nature is dead. Long live Nature™ Inc.! This adagio inspires many
environmental policies today. In order to respond to the many
environmental problems the world is facing, new and innovative methods
are necessary, or so it is argued, and markets are posited as the ideal
vehicle to supply these. Indeed, market forces have been finding their
way into environmental policy and conservation to a degree that seemed
unimaginable only a decade ago. Payments for ecosystem services,
biodiversity derivatives and new conservation finance mechanisms,
species banking, carbon trade, geoengineering and conservation 2.0 are
just some of the market mechanisms that have taken a massive flight in
popularity in recent years, despite, or perhaps because of the recent
‘Great Financial Crisis’.

The conference seeks to critically engage with the market panacea in
environmental policy and conservation in the context of histories and
recent developments in neoliberal capitalism. The conference is steeped
in traditions of political economy and political ecology, in order to
arrive at a deeper understanding of where environmental policies and
conservation in an age of late capitalism come from, are going and what
effects they have on natures and peoples. ‘Nature™ Inc’ follows a
successful recent conference in Lund, Sweden, in May 2010 and several
earlier similar initiatives that have shown the topic to be of great
interest to academics, policy-makers and civil society. The present
conference is thus meant not only to deepen and share critical knowledge
on market-based environmental policies and practices and nature-society
relations more generally, but also to strengthen and widen the networks
enabling this objective.

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