Rio+20 Great Nature Sale: ‘ebay auction’ launched
Ebay seller “Rio_Summit_Nature_Sale” today listed some of the world’s most famous forests, oceans, lakes and species for sale on ebay.
The sale was timed to coincide with a “Natural Capital Dialogue” being held today at Rio+20 by the World Bank and the UK government. The meeting will promote initiatives that put a price on ecosystems and allow new commodities to be created, as part of a “green economy” agenda that has drawn widespread criticism at the summit.
Kirsty Wright, campaigner at the World Development Movement, said today:
The UK government is promoting the sale of nature to the highest bidder. We set up the Rio+20 nature sale on ebay to demonstrate how ridiculous this is. By selling off iconic natural sites such as the Amazon rainforest and the Lake District, we are simply following the UK’s approach that the intrinsic value of ecosystems can now be quantified and that they can then be owned, speculated on and ultimately sold off to whoever has the most money."
Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, said:
The ‘green economy’ is high on the Rio agenda, but it is a smokescreen for rich industrialised countries’ attempts to privatise nature. This will lead to increased environmental destruction and higher levels of inequality and poverty. We need to put people before profit.”
Notes to Editors
 Ebay has cancelled the “Rio_Earth_Summit” listing.
Lake District ebay listing
“At a very special starting price you can take home the whole of the UK's Lake District national park.
“Being sold in celebration of the UK government's support for the sell off of nature, the Rio+20 Great Nature Sale features one of the UK's most famous and best-loved national parks.
“Think of the hills, the history and the beautiful lakes, or even the untapped ecosystem functions of Wordsworth's famous daffodils. And if that's not enough for you, you could always sell off some of the Lake District's famous walks and public paths.”
“These items are also for sale at the official Rio +20 summit. Nevertheless, the seller reserves the right to withdraw this sale on the grounds that these goods are part of the global commons.”
Sumatran tiger ebay listing
“As boasted by the outgoing World Bank president Robert Zoellick, there’s extra value to be generated by offsets that conserve the world's most charismatic species. And what could be more charismatic than the Sumatran tiger?
“You can be pretty confident that this is a species near extinction and therefore worth investing in. The price on the head of tigers is going to keep its value, so don't miss this fantastic opportunity at Rio+20.
“These items are also for sale at the official Rio+20 summit. The seller reserves the right to withdraw this sale on the grounds that these goods are part of the global commons.”
The “Rio_Earth_Summit” ebay account was registered by the World Development Movement, Re:Common, Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, and the Institute for Policy Studies. Read the World Development Movement’s “green economy” media briefing. Read Banktrack’s position of the natural capital declaration.
 The “High-level Dialogue on Natural Capital” is being hosted by the UK Government and the World Bank today at 13:00 Rio de Janeiro time. Details can be found here.
The meeting will promote the Natural Capital Declaration, signed by the CEOs of 37 major financial sector companies on 16 June. It calls for the integration of “natural capital” into financial products and services. It advocates the financial valuation of unpriced natural resources like water and biodiversity and the creation of “risk management tools” for natural capital, potentially opening the door to financial speculation. The declaration calls on governments to incentivise companies that integrate the value of “ecosystem services” into their business model.
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Regular updates from our campaigners on issues around the green economy, financialisation and the Rio+20 conference.
The great nature sale
Discussions about the green economy are being captured by rich country governments and corporate interests. Their proposals include allowing speculators to bet on the price of water, selling off land that indigenous people and small-scale farmers have used for generations and creating new financial instruments linked to the survival of endangered species.
Want to know more?
Our briefing, Rio+20 summit: Whose green economy?, explains what is being proposed at Rio, the corporate plan for the future of our planet, and the sustainable alternatives being proposed by social movements and civil society in the global south.