• Open Access

The natural environment is valuable but not infinitely valuable


  • Editor
    Subhrendu Pattanayak


This article discusses the appeal to infinite value in environmental decision making. We argue that invoking infinite values as a means of faithfully representing the worth of certain parts of the natural environment is a mistake. Infinite values have a number of theoretical and practical problems associated with them. For example, we show that invoking infinite values makes it hard to motivate conservation management decisions with greater probability of success. It is also difficult to motivate decisions that lead to better environmental outcomes, such as an increase in the area of habitat preserved. The upshot is that environmental decision making would be crippled if infinite values were introduced.