National accounting has focused on man-made capital. Capital consumption, or depreciation, has been subtracted from gross domestic product, giving a net domestic product figure which is sustainable in the sense that one can consume that amount while maintaining the capital stock intact. This concept does not take into account consumption of the "natural" or environmental capital. It is possible to estimate environmentally adjusted net domestic product by subtracting environmental depletion and degradation allowances from the standard net domestic product figures.
Much apparent economic growth may in fact be an illusion based on a failure to account for reduction in natural capital.
The proposal to solve the ecological crisis by giving market values to all resources is like offering the disease as the cure. The reduction of all value to commercial value, and the removal of all spiritual, ecological, cultural and social limits to exploitation -- the shift that took place at the time of industrialization - is central to the ecological crisis.