The Value of Biosphere Earth, pt. 3: Ecosystem Services

So far this series has covered the history of Life and our Life-support system’s architecture. This post talks about what other Life does for us.

This map shows Earth’s biodiversity concentrations on land. List of Eco Services overlaid by me. (Source)

Guess what keeps us alive, is smarter than any computer, and is the thing that made humanity biologically possible in the first place? Yes, you guessed right: “Ecosystem Services.”

But what does that mean?

Unfortunately, this simple and bland terminology is 100% irrelevant to most people, including environmentalists.

Ecosystem Services are all of the things living ecosystems create. After 4+ billion years of life’s development on Earth, the list of Ecosystem Services we depend on today is pretty darn broad, ranging from things like genetic intelligence to temperate weather to food to freshwater, and a lot more.

I think the most effective way to define ecosystem services is to just list some of the things living ecosystems do / provide / build / create. So…

Here is a partial list:

Again, this is a partial list.

Note that Technology cannot replace the diversity, magnitude, and global integration of these services. So, frankly speaking, we can’t win the future without a rich and abundant Biosphere Earth. What is Biosphere Earth? It’s the composition of life and living ecosystems on this planet that creates all of the primary forms of security and existence for life today; Earth’s ecosystem services. Biosphere Earth is our life-support system (see list above).

Recent destruction of Biosphere Earth has radically reduced Ecosystem Services’ viability. It is the destruction of ecosystems that is driving today’s environmental crises, including climate change. We could 100% stop fossil fuel emissions tomorrow and we’d still see crazy wildfires, epic drought, species extinctions, and massive storms all due to our self-destructive economics of consumerism without replenishment, ecosystem fragmentation, toxification, and pollution. It’s not “the environment” that’s in trouble, it’s our life-support system.

We need a new paradigm.

Our new way of life should be 100% based in life-support system reality; the reality that human life depends on Ecosystem Services, which are generated by the integrity and productivity of other life and other life’s habitats, the things Earth’s biosphere creates.

I hope you’ll keep reading this series. As it progresses I’ll share how Earth compares to other planets we might visit, how much carbon could be pulled out of the atmosphere by protecting, rescuing and regrowing Biosphere Earth, how “vegetation controls the future of the climate”, how much money our life-support system is worth, and more. Thanks.

What can you do this week?

Engage in awareness of all the infrastructures, products, contexts, and services other life forms build and provide, we depend on. The cradle of humanity is Biosphere Earth and its ecosystem services. Our most powerful and effective climate solution is Biosphere Earth.

Read a two paragraph synopsis of the science on Ecosystem Services here. This piece contains all of the citations for the writing above, more than 60 academic references.

Podcast of This
Listen to me talk about these ideas in an awesome14-minute podcast here. Listen to me read the ecosystem services list above as fast as possible here.

BioIntegrity Emails
I’m Chris Searles, founder of BioIntegrity. Read this week’s BioIntegrity email on Ecosystem Services, which shares a few more ideas, here.

Thanks again.
Read part 1 of this series.
Read part 2.




Chris Searles is founder/director of BioIntegrity ( and cofounder/exec. editor of (

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