Who’s Minding the Restore?
Ecosystem restoration is booming business, only getting boominger
One positive side effect of polluting and despoiling the planet is that somebody stands to make money cleaning it up. (Hey, our glass is half full!) And sure enough, ecological restoration is a booming business. Viewed narrowly, as attempts to restore natural resources to something approximating their original condition — including projects like those in the Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Everglades — U.S. restoration revenues last year were about $1.2 billion, according to the Environmental Business Journal. But some advocates like author Storm Cunningham think restoration should be thought of even more broadly. “We’ve come to assume,” he says, “that economic growth is synonymous with conquering new lands and extracting virgin resources.” But in fact, in an already-developed world, much infrastructure development — upgraded sewer systems, brownfield redevelopment, environmental remediation — is restorative. Viewed that way, says Cunningham, more than $1 trillion is spent each year on restoration, and that figure is only expected to grow.