This paper was originally published in Trinity College Dublin


Abstract: Consciously or not, people attach values to aspects that are important in their lives. These values can inform their preferences and their behaviour. They attach a value to a clean, healthy, functioning environment just as they do to other aspects such as personal relationships, their community and employment. An understanding of these values is relevant to deciding on the resources that must be invested to protect environmental quality, for sustainable development and to maintain and enhance quality of life.

This paper introduces and describes the relationship between people’s values and the natural environment, specifically natural capital and ecosystem services. It examines two of the main disciplinary perspectives on values: the treatment of values in neoclassical economics, and the case for a plurality of socio-cultural values put forward by such disciplines as social psychology and ecological economics.

This paper also introduces various methodologies for eliciting these values, which use either qualitative or quantitative approaches. Finally, some observations are made on the relationship with sustainability, quality of life and environmental accounting…”

Read on at: Trinity College Dublin.