Use your powers for good
Where natural resources are used, shared and conserved, decisions by individuals and societies reflect values, rights and incentives. Valuation takes many forms, from cultural perceptions over implementing conservation legislations, to performing economic cost-benefit analysis. Neither these approaches nor the information underpinning them, or the manner in which they have been chosen, are neutral. Unequal power relations, which influence the valuation process and subsequent decision making, are at the core of many -if not all- environmental conflicts.
Actors in sustainability, especially scientists, are becoming more aware of their own -often implicit- normative position, and the responsibility that comes with the powerful position of science in society. In the end, the responsibility of a valuation researcher or professional – including all who work in ‘assessment’ in the broadest sense – also indicates the power she or he has. You are in a unique position to impact decision making. It is up to you what to do with that power!