Efforts to address environmental problems have led to a rapid proliferation of mechanisms for creating financial value for nature. This paper argues that the creation of financial value for nature requires work to disentangle and frame the relation between people and nature so as to render this relation calculable, and that this work acts to alienate people from nature. To pursue and progress this argument, the paper analyses the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to establish a mechanism to create financial value for tropical forests based on their capacity to store carbon. The analysis finds that the UNFCCC’s work of disentanglement and framing, so as to render calculable the relation between people and forests, has created conditions that threaten to materially degrade the ecological value of tropical forest biodiversity and the cultural/spiritual value of forests to indigenous peoples. The findings support this paper’s argument that the alienation of people from nature is not simply a consequence of financial valuation, but rather is a necessary prerequisite for creating financial value for nature.
- Indigenous peoples