Concepts that Click

What do natural disasters and cancer have in common? Ecology.

Richard Gallagher
Apr 1, 2006

Take another look at the cover. Isn't the similarity in appearance of the St. Louis Great Flood of 1993 (left panel) and a stained section of a breast cancer biopsy (right panel) remarkable? More spectacular still are the deep concepts that link these images: the nature of ecosystems, how these systems malfunction, and what we can do to recover them. In this issue, back-to-back features address these ideas, which are very much of our time.

Could and should money be spent on maintaining ecosystems to prevent the devastation illustrated on the cover image or by Hurricane Katrina, or the Asian tsunami? This and other facets of the valuation and restoration of natural capital, which sit on the fault line between economics and ecology, are discussed on page 38. Can we, as one champion puts it, develop "economics as if ecology mattered, ecology as if people mattered?" Put another way,...