While the stock market's belly-dancer-gyrations (more of a limbo, "how low can you go?", really) seem significant — according to a study commissioned by the EU, the global economy actually loses more money through the disappearance of forests than through the financial ho-down. The study pegs the cost of the loss of forests between $2 and $5 trillion per year, while calculations put the financial mess at $1.5 trillion.
How did they arrive at that figure? By factoring in the value of the services forest perform, like providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide. According to their conclusions the cost sky rockets as nature stops providing the services it used to do for free. Mad, I suppose, at being hacked to pieces. That might do it. Without them the human economy has to replace them by building reservoirs, carbon capture facilities, and growing food that used to come . . . naturally. It's a cost that's also borne disproportionately by the poor.
The good news is that someone is doing this calculation at all — just a few years ago there was no connection between green trees and green backs. So while watching the Dow number flopping around is entertaining, while the markets are closed this weekend, I may just go plant a tree.