The definition of Natural Capital is the land, air, water, living organisms and all formations, functionality and interconnectedness within the Earth's biosphere that provide us with Ecosystem Goods and Services. Natural Capital (and by extension, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Goods & Services, Functionality and Interconnectedness) is imperative for the survival and well-being of all living species.
Therefore, Natural Capital is the basis for ALL biological, economic and social activity of ALL species on earth.
The biggest risk to Natural Capital is, ironically, the Butterfly Effect. This is amplified by Positive Feedback which means reaching Tipping Points faster. Once Tipping Points are crossed, System Collapse is inevitable.
See below for further definitions related to this field.
Natural Capital (generally called "Nature") is a form of capital that all other main forms of capital (human, social, manufactured and financial) are based on.
Capital are durable goods that are in turn used as productive inputs for further production of goods and services.
Ecosystem Services are the goods and services provided by ecosystems that benefit, sustain and support life on earth.
Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life on earth which, when combined with functionality and interconnectedness, provide ecosystem services. Biodiversity is measured at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level.
Functionality is the intangible systems that allow ecosystem goods and services and biodiversity to function. For example, seasons, weather patterns, the global water cycle and celestial driven tides.
Interconnectedness is the multiple cross connection between biodiversity and functionality over time and space.
Butterfly Effect is an underlying principle of a branch of mathematics called Chaos Theory which describes how a very small change in initial conditions can create a significantly different outcome.
Earth System Science (ESS) is the application of systems science to the Earth. In particular, it considers interactions and 'feedbacks', through material and energy fluxes, between the Earth's sub-systems' cycles, processes and "spheres"—atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, pedosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and even the magnetosphere, as well as the impact of human societies on these components.
The Holocene is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 years the before present time (c. 9701 BCE), and after the Last Glacial Period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat.
Planetary Boundaries are a framework to describe limits to the impacts of human activities on the Earth system. Beyond these limits, the environment may not be able to self-regulate anymore. This would mean the Earth system would leave the period of stability of the Holocene, in which human society developed. Crossing a planetary boundary comes at the risk of abrupt environmental change. The framework is based on scientific evidence that human actions, especially those of industrialized societies since the Industrial Revolution, have become the main driver of global environmental change. According to the framework, "transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental-scale to planetary-scale systems.
Positive Feedback is a process that occurs in a feedback loop which exacerbates the effects of a small disturbance. That is, A produces more of B which in turn produces more of A.
Tipping Point is the time at which a change or an effect cannot be stopped.
System Collapse events during the last 3.8 billion years (five have occured) has resulted in the extinction of between 50% and 90% of all species on Earth.
Impact Investing refers to investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return. We focus purely on environmental, not social investments, therefore defining the term Environmental Impact Investing.
Sustainable Development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Greenhouse gases absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. The primary greenhouse gasses in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone. Excessive amounts of greenhouse gasses, especially anthropogenic produced carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are considered harmful to life on Earth.
The Water Cycle describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth in the major reservoirs of ice, fresh water, saline water and atmospheric water. Water moves from one reservoir to another by the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, surface runoff, and subsurface flow. In doing so, the water goes through different forms: liquid, solid (ice) and vapor.
The water cycle involves the exchange of energy, which leads to temperature changes. These heat exchanges influence climate.
The evaporative phase of the cycle purifies water which then replenishes the land with freshwater. The flow of liquid water and ice transports minerals across the globe and reshapes the geological features of the Earth, through processes including erosion and sedimentation.
The water cycle is essential for the maintenance of life and ecosystems on the planet.
For ~800,000 years global atmospheric carbon levels have ranged between ~180ppm and ~280ppm and global temperatures have tracked this range closely. This has change dramatically over the last ~60 years.
NASA simulations have determined that carbon levels above 350 ppm are incompatible with sustaining a planet to which life on Earth has adapted. On May 12, 2019, the Keeling Curve (which measures carbon levels) exceeded 415 ppm for the first time in recorded history.