The commodification of resources

Not so secret wave that has been pretty valuable in the history of Australian surfing, at least. Photo: me

In studying environmental science, we spend a lot of time addressing the fact that certain “services” that natural systems provide can’t really be commodified, like the production of breathable air and clean water, for instance. How much would you pay to have clean air to breathe (which is necessary for survival)?

Asking this is tantamount to asking how much you would pay to keep living. We all still participate in activities that contribute to the degradation of the air we breathe. Luckily, the planet has worked out some clever ways to keep cleaning the air that we desecrate, so we haven’t really been forced to assign dollar values to assure clean air in most parts of the Earth (yet, perahaps).

Anyway, I saw this article on TheInertia.com about The Value of a Wave and it got me thinking about what kind of monetary value we  surfers might place on our renewable resource of ocean waves were they to be compromised in some way (like the ocean being too polluted to healthily be in for extended periods of time).

Here’s the article:

By Chad Nelsen

Surfrider Environmental Director

“The other day, I was walking down to Trestles for a lunch time surf (in the name of research of course!) and I had a nice chat with a guy who had cut out of work early to surf. He was from Manhattan Beach – so he had driven over 60 miles (one way) and then committed to the 20 minute walk down to the surf. We talked about quality of the waves, the crowds, etc. In response to the discussion about the crowds he said, “You may only get a couple of waves, but the wave value is so high that it’s worth it.”

So this guy was willing to drive 120 miles round trip, give up 1/2 a day of work, walk 40 minutes round trip, and brave the crowds at Trestles for a couple of hours in the water – all for one or two waves, because the value of those waves was so high – they were so much fun- it made it all worth it.”

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2 Comments

  1. the memory of one great wave lives on and on. you can call it up to remind you of good times to come, of the strength you possess or simply the fun you had that day. it’s invalueable. isn’t it?

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