Coral reefs are worth more than four times the value of the economy of the United Kingdom, as the reefs provide over $9 trillion in services to people worldwide. The statistic was provided from a recently created “Earth Index”. The index is based on a study of data which already existed.

The economy of the United Kingdom is only worth about $2.6 trillion. By comparison, the world spends a total of almost $3.4 trillion on oil every year.

Coral reefs provide value in storm protection, housing fish, attracting tourists and removing carbon emissions from the planet.

Other startling revelations include that bees provide nearly $162 billion to the world economy by pollinating crops and that vultures contribute almost $2.5 billion by removing the bodies of dead animals, thus preventing health hazards.

Meanwhile, the price of fresh water is valued at more than $70 trillion per year. This is the equivalent of the entire world economy, as without fresh water, the economy would not be able to function.

Microscopic plankton, which form the basis of all food that is derived from the ocean, are worth more than $212 billion. They are also useful for storing carbon emissions.

The “Earth Index” is being featured in the financial sections of newspapers worldwide in order to put the stock market into proper perspective. Natural resources are much more valuable than commodities created by people.

Creative director of BBC Earth and developer of the index Neil Nightingale stated, “When you see the figures in black and white it’s illuminating to see that the annual revenues of the world’s most successful companies – Apple, General Motors, Nestle, Bank of China – all pale in comparison to the financial return to our economy from natural assets.”

It just goes to show that our ultimate resources are the ones that are naturally available to us.

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