What is money?

Money is a trigger, good and bad, for most of us. Money is an outcome and a measure of success. Money is humanity’s expression of excellence. It is the conveyance from natural resources through an economy toward waste — a one-way trip so far. And, money can be a weapon and a tool of privilege, colonial empire building and global trade. Almost 800 million Earthlings live is abject poverty because they are deprived money.

Money, as the currency of our global economies, is a constant — now and through a climate-changed future, for example, And, since money is a priority greater than human health, we must reimagine money as a tool for unity and future-building.

Money is a social construct that does not occur in nature, so money can be whatever we want it to be.

At Bank of Nature, we see money as the way to engage in global stewardship that addresses our greatest crises. That means, also, acknowledging that money, and how we use it today, has been a primary agent in the creation of human-made crises, like the climate threat.

Bank of Nature sees the abuse of money in distribution, not just in economic disadvantage, but in the payment of rent to nature through a proxy like us. By including nature as a financial partner that enjoys the rewards of human progress, we begin to unwind many of the problems that result from nature’s omission.

Many people thing that money is, or should be, something valuable in itself.  This expectation maybe comes from the long-standing practice of using commodities such as metal, especially gold and silver, as money: the King’s coinage. We have a societal agreement the coins and bills have certain representative values in the payment of goods and the payment of debt.

Money is also a legal construct. An IOU that is known in the law as a negotiable instrument. That is a promise to pay that can be transferred by the person to whom the promise was made to any other person, and by that person to any other person, and so on, ad infinitum.

Some negotiable instruments can only be negotiated – or transferred legally to another – by signature or other endorsement. Money is a negotiable instrument that can be transferred by mere physical delivery.  Anyone who physically holds money, can legally spend it — unless there is fraud or other illegal behavior at work.

Even then, unless the person receiving money illegally obtained is participating in that illegal activity, they get to keep the money, even though the person who gave it to them had no legal right to have it.

It’s within this complex understanding of money that Bank of Nature asks: Should we not be paying nature money for the use of resources? Is nature not owed rent? How does paying nature change the power of money to unify toward endgame sustainability?