Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Why do we value the Natural World so little?

23 February, 2010 - 14:35 -- John Burton

Over the weekend I happened to finish reading a book about the Amber Room in St Petersburg. This priceless 'lost' treasure has been re-created at a cost of millions of dollars. And it set me thinking about the annual turnover of works of art and the millions and millions of dollars, pound, yen, euros etc invested. And yet these works of man (and woman) in many cases are not even unique. Rodin produced multiple copies, there are dozens of 'original' Audubon illustrations of birds, and even more by Gould and Lear. I know, because I own a few of the latter.

Among all the great works of art there are also many that are of contentious attribution. Their value may plummet if they are shown to be copies or fakes. The famous example of art being worth more than nature is the painting of a cheetah by George Stubbs. But there are thousands of other examples.

When I was in Dresden a couple of years ago, I remember marvelling at the reconstruction of the cathedral. To me a monument to man's folly of irrational belief, but nonetheless a remarkable construction. It cost millions to rebuild, but it was also possible to rebuild it so convincingly that almost no one in the future will know that it is not original. Unfortunately we cannot do this with rainforest, or almost any other natural habitat. Once the habitat is destroyed, and some of the species go extinct that's it. It would be rather like trying to rebuild Dresden cathedral without being able to have any gold leaf.

The budgets of nature conservation organisations pale into insignificance when compared with those of the arts, and yet what we are trying to preserve is truly irreplaceable.

Perhaps there should be a natural world tax on every work of art that is sold for more than $1 million?


Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do we value the Natural World so little? Perhaps it's because some of us have other priorities. Read on.

Narcissistic behaviour towards Resources and the Natural world.

"Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others", "abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature." REF: –

Narcissism is a force of nature that manifests itself to some extent in virtually every human being. It is the force that allows us to break an egg to make an omelete (we think of our needs. 'I need the food, therefore I have to do this.' We suspend our conscience and neglect the possibilty that we might be destroying a life.)

Not surprisingly, individuals exhibit narcissism in different amounts. Narcissists are often extremely manipulative. When narcissism reaches a certain level, it is recognised as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Narcissists are often extremely manipulative. Brightness or retardation is independent of the disorder. A Narcissist may be very bright and quick witted.

Narcissists can often manipulate other people with no apparent effort, through veiled threats of humiliation, verbal or physical violence (Narcissistic rage). Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando were Narcissists. Which brings me to another point – Why do narcissists exist? Maybe it's because they don't worry about anything much and often go through a string of relationships, having many children to numerous partners (in other words, they generally reproduce well – Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando both had around ten Children to various wives (Wikipedia)).

In a leaderless group, a narcissist will often take the lead. Because of the way narcissists manipulate people and cause stress, they do not make good business leaders. Their attitude to resources is also inappropriate to leadership.

Interested? Read the document by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D. © 1999 at: -

The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability

The source of Narcissism

The roots of the narcissistic self are both developmental and genetic. Developmentally, nature provides the infant for approximately its first eighteen months of life with the narcissistic defense. This defense provides a safe way for the infant to experience the world, shielding her from an overwhelming sense of vulnerability, helplessness and dependence that is present during this stage of life. In its place the young human being experiences being the center of the world, experiences being one with her mother, and experiences being all-powerful.


How do these developmental and genetic factors which become dominant aspects of both individuals' and groups' consciousness and behaviors interfere with efforts at sustainability? The narcissistic defense seeks to dominate every space in which it participates – both on individual and group levels. This force of narcissism is interested in, committed to, and obsessed with power and control, and it will sacrifice people and resources indiscriminately. The narcissistic defense interferes by stonewalling, intimidating, and dominating attention in group settings. REF: –

This reference also contains suggested ways to defend against and to tackle Narcissists over their behaviour.

In summary, Narcissists have no (zero) empathy, they may be totally incapable of valuing the Natural World. Perhaps this should be a source of hope for the rest of us because it means that narcissists have NOT actually weighed up the value of the natural world.

Bookmark and Share

Read about us

  • News Online
  • RSS
  • eBulletin
  • Green Diary
  • Printed Newsletter

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1986 874422

Follow us

Follow on Facebook  Follow on Twitter  Follow on Linkedin  Follow on GooglePlus  Follow on YouTube