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Forging a new way to value Lake Tahoe’s clarity

Entrepreneur plans to beta test natural assets stock exchange here
Keep Tahoe Blue News
July 8, 2013

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When you think of Lake Tahoe, a stock exchange isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But that’s exactly what Douglas Eger wants to do here. However, he doesn’t have companies in mind. He wants to do it for the things people value most about Lake Tahoe: its water quality, its meadows, its wildlife, its old-growth trees, all of its natural assets.

Eger is designing a beta version of a new project called the Intrinsic Value Exchange at Lake Tahoe.

“I started this project because I wanted to be able to value natural and societal assets, so they would no longer be ignored, or worse, destroyed by our economy,” Eger said. “IVE is a way to bring the tools of modern finance to valuing natural assets so we can create jobs and wealth without having to pit environmentalists against those who want a robust economy.”

The idea is to try to find a dollar value for things that our economy currently doesn’t quantify in terms of dollars.

Take, for example, a tree. Is it worth more to society as lumber, or as a provider of clean air, a carbon sink, erosion controller, soil builder, water purifier, and wildlife habitat? IVE is going to attempt to answer that question.

“Our economy cannot tell you the intrinsic value of a tree because it simply cannot see it as anything other than lumber, orchard or landscaping,” says a description of the project at the-ive.org.“Our economic system was not designed to do that. And the imbalance this creates is pernicious, as some assets are valued and others are not. It would be analogous to a Rembrandt being valued only as canvas for a tent or the Hope Diamond as a cutting tool.”

An avid environmentalist, Eger is also a film producer and investor. He and Cristina Khuly founded IVE in June with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for beta development. With a version of the online exchange platform scheduled to go live in six months, IVE is growing rapidly and looking for involvement on all levels.

Like so many Lake Tahoe residents, they fell hard for the exceptional beauty and lifestyle of the Basin. 

“With its strong commitment to conservation, Lake Tahoe will be an ideal ecosystem to include in the beta of the exchange,” Eger said. “The Lake Tahoe community will be instrumental in pioneering an economic model that connects ecological health with economic growth.”   

So how about the value of Keeping Tahoe Blue? We invite you to help decide. Visit the-ive.org to learn more.