How much, precisely, is one whale worth? Half an elephant? Three dozen gibbons?

“Don’t be silly, Ol and Dave, you can’t put a price on nature” we hear you cry. Well tell it to the IMF, because they say our blubbery friends retail for $2m, a big figure which, in the world of excel spreadsheets and cost benefit analyses, means whales are worth saving. Unlike, say, earwigs, who aren’t priced up and therefore can extinctify themselves without wider consequences.

Bonkers, no? Well that’s what Adrienne Buller, author of fab new book The Value of a Whale: On the illusions of Green Capitalism wants us to think about.

Because there is also an argument that goes 1) everything’s dead or dying, 2) the powerful only care about money, 3) give animals a dollar value & men in suits might prefer them alive, 4) NOTHING ELSE SEEMS TO BE WORKING SO LET’S GIVE THIS A SHOT, EH?

We discuss.

Sustainababble is your friendly environment podcast, out weekly. Theme music by the legendary Dicky Moore – @dickymoo. Sustainababble logo by the splendid Arthur Stovell at Design by Mondial. Ecoguff read out by Arabella.

Love the babble? Bung us a few pennies at


Available on iTunes, Spotify, Acast & all those types of things, or at Visit us at @thebabblewagon and at Email us at