Things of inestimable value, such as art, are often said to be priceless. Such value is, however, relative. A dying man in a desert might trade a priceless painting for a bottle of water. Nature, like art, is ephemeral. The beauty of a butterfly wing or the eye of a tiger is but a moment in evolutionary time. Currently, rhino horn is worth much more than gold. Rhinos are likely to be traded to extinction this century, the last few increasing in value like vintage wine. When the last is gone, will ecosystems fail? Will Wall Street crash? No, but when a whole ecosystem is swept from the evolutionary ...


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