Does the (natural) world exist to provide ‘services’ for human beings? Should we attempt to justify the importance of bees or trees or rivers or mountains or bacillus acidophilus in terms of an ecosystems services analysis, i.e. what services they provide to us?
Alternatively should we analyse what services we provide to ecosystems? This question was raised by Shai Zakai recently during a discussion about ecosystem services. It seems to focus precisely the problem with the ecosystems services approach, which is that it leaves us as the beneficiary of the services, limiting our responsibility to those we can comprehend.
For some useful background on this subject see the Arts and Environment network at CIWEM resource on Natural Capital, and in particular their introductory document From Microbes to Mountains.