Our history

 
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Dave Batker

Co-Founder & President Emeritus

David Batker co-founded Earth Economics in 1998 and served first as Executive Director and then as the organization’s president during his 20 year-tenure with the organization. He helped Earth Economics grow from its humble beginnings in a coffee shop in Tacoma, WA into a global powerhouse for providing organizations, businesses, and governments with the data and resources needed to understand the economic value of nature and make investment and policy decisions that promote ecological health and create sustainable communities. His work has reached from Tacoma to the Mississippi Delta to the Philippines and been featured in more than 300 publications. He co-authored the 2011 book, What’s the Economy for Anyway?, which made Publisher’s Weekly Top 10 in Business & Economics in 2011. The book still serves to challenge widely held economic assumptions and offers a unique and in-depth examination of a more efficient, holistic economy, one that considers nature as the enormously valuable asset it clearly is.

David grew up in Washington State with a deep appreciation of the environment and economy. He attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, earning degrees in Earth Science and Biology, and then Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for his Master of Science degree in Economics. During his tenure at Earth Economics, Dave’s work began to focus increasingly on federal policy change and litigation, and he immediately recognized the enormous potential of the latter to affect critical change at scale. In 2018, he left the organization to begin his next chapter in pursuit of this opportunity, and he started a consulting practice focusing solely on expert witness testimony for court cases that involve significant economic impacts to natural capital and human health. 

Dave is a truly determined pioneer and singular champion of ecological economics, and he is forever seeking new avenues by which to expand the application and impact of taking nature into account. This next chapter offers enormous opportunities for him to do that in a way that is unique from but continues to build upon the work of Earth Economics.

 
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TRUE TO OUR MISSION

Our vision is, and always has been, a world where nature, industry, and communities thrive together. From that coffeeshop in Tacoma, to the halls of Washington DC, to the board rooms of corporate America, we have covered a lot of ground. Earth Economics was founded with a mission to quantify and value the benefits that nature provides, and we have done so for communities, governments, and businesses around the globe. Our focus now is to take it one step further, and fully empower leaders, community members, and decision makers to understand and act on the information we provide. In addition to complex ecosystem service valuations and benefit-cost analyses, we offer hands-on, strategic investment support; tailored, values-based messaging; in-person capacity building and training; and stakeholder facilitation. Our goal is not just to crunch the numbers, but to change the conversation in a way that ensures they are properly considered and put into action.

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2018 highlights

  • Ushered in changes to federal accounting standards that unlock billions in public financing for green infrastructure 

  • Valued the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest as a trillion-dollar asset to one of the nation’s fastest-growing regional economies.

  • Worked with cities from Panama to Australia to develop comprehensive resilience strategies as a platform partner for 100 Resilient Cities

  • Worked with disaster-stricken communities and state and federal agencies to access new funding mechanisms that promote ecological health as core to disaster mitigation and recovery

  • Developed a framework for the USDA to evaluate and promote ecological health on US rangelands by incentivizing sustainable management practices