Economic Development vs the Environment

Economic Development vs the Environment

Last updated: March 7, 2017

Is the economic development of developing countries more important than protecting the environment?

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

Taking care of millions of people who are starving is more important than saving natural resources, ...

Taking care of millions of people who are starving is more important than saving natural resources, most of which are renewable anyway. We cannot expect developing nations to share the green concerns of developed countries when they are faced with dire poverty and a constant battle for survival.
No because...
We have already wasted and destroyed vast amounts of natural resources, and in so doing have put earth at risk. We must preserve the earth for our children and grandchildren. In any case, poverty and environmental damage are often linked. Destroying the rainforest gives native peoples nowhere to go except urban slums. Polluted water can lead to crop failures. Climate change will turn fertile fields into desert and flood coastal areas where hundreds of millions live. Developing countries have to choose sustainable development if they want a future for their people.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

The industrialised world’s emphasis on green issues holds back developing countries. Because this i...

The industrialised world’s emphasis on green issues holds back developing countries. Because this is seen as interference in their affairs, it also contributes to a greater divide between the First and Third worlds. Many also believe it is a deliberate attempt to stop possible economic competitors. After all, the USA and EU already put high tariffs (import taxes) on products made cheaply in developing countries (e.g. canned tomatoes, shoes) which could be sold in America or Europe. By limiting the development of profitable but polluting industries like steel or oil refineries we are forcing nations to remain economically backward.
No because...
No one wants to stop economic progress that could give millions better lives. But we must insist on sustainable development that combines environmental care, social justice and economic growth. Earth cannot support unrestricted growth. Companies in developed countries already have higher costs of production because of rules to protect the environment. It is unfair if they then see their prices undercut by goods produced cheaply in developing countries at the cost of great pollution.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

Economic development is vital for meeting the basic needs of the growing populations of developing c...

Economic development is vital for meeting the basic needs of the growing populations of developing countries. If we do not allow them to industrialise, these nations will have to bring in measures to limit population growth just to preserve vital resources such as water.
No because...
Unchecked population growth has a negative impact on any nation, as well as on the whole planet. Both the poverty and the environmental problems of sub-Saharan Africa are largely the result of rapid population growth putting pressure on limited resources. At the same time China has become wealthy while following a “one-child” per couple policy. Limiting population growth will result in a higher standard of living and will preserve the environment.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

Obviously the world would be better if all nations stuck to strict environmental rules. The reality...

Obviously the world would be better if all nations stuck to strict environmental rules. The reality is that for many nations such rules are not in their interests. For example, closing China’s huge Capital Iron and Steelworks, a major source of pollution, would cost 40 000 jobs. The equal application of strict environmental policies would create huge barriers to economic progress, at a risk to political stability.
No because...
Nations are losing more from pollution than they are gaining from industrialisation. China is a perfect example. Twenty years of uncontrolled economic development have created serious, chronic air and water pollution. This has increased health problems and resulted in annual losses to farmers of crops worth billions of dollars. So uncontrolled growth is not only bad for the environment, it is also makes no economic sense.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

Rapid industrialisation does not have to put more pressure on the environment. Scientific advances ...

Rapid industrialisation does not have to put more pressure on the environment. Scientific advances have made industries much less polluting. And developing countries can learn from the environmental mistakes of the developed world’s industrial revolution, and from more recent disasters in communist countries such as China and the USSR. For example, efficient new steelworks use much less water, raw materials and power, while producing much less pollution than traditional factories. And nuclear generating plants can provide more energy than coal while contributing far less to global warming. We are also exploring alternative, renewable types of energy such as solar, wind and hydro-power.
No because...
Scientific progress has made people too confident in their abilities to control their environment. In just half a century the world’s nuclear industry has had at least three serious accidents: Windscale (UK, 1957), Three Mile Island (USA, 1979), and Chernobyl (USSR, 1986). In addition, the nuclear power industry still cannot store its waste safely. Hydro-power sounds great but damming rivers is itself damaging to the environment. It also forces huge numbers of people off their land – as in China’s 3 Gorges project.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

It is hypocritical (two-faced and unfair) for rich developed countries to demand that poorer nations...

It is hypocritical (two-faced and unfair) for rich developed countries to demand that poorer nations make conservation their priority. After all, they became rich in the first place by destroying their environment in the industrial revolution. Now that they have cut down their own trees, polluted their water sources and poured billions of tons of carbon into the air, they are in no position to tell others to behave differently. In any case, as countries become richer they become more concerned about the environment, and can afford to do something about it. For developing countries conservation can therefore wait until they are richer.
No because...
Looking after our fragile world has to be a partnership. Climate change will affect the whole planet, not just the developed world. In fact it is likely to have particularly terrible effects on developing countries as sea levels rise, deserts advance, and natural disasters become more common. It is no use Europe trying to cut its emissions into the atmosphere if unchecked growth in China and India leads to much greater overall pollution. Instead, developed countries need to transfer greener technologies to the developing world, paying for environmental protection and making sustainability a condition for aid.

Economic Development vs the Environment
Yes because...

The “Green Revolution” has doubled the size of grain harvests. Thus, cutting down more forests to p...

The “Green Revolution” has doubled the size of grain harvests. Thus, cutting down more forests to provide more space for crops is no longer necessary. We now have the knowledge to feed the world’s increasing population without harming the environment. Genetically modified crops can also benefit the developing world by requiring much less water, fertiliser or pesticide use while giving better yields. This is another example of economic development leading to environmental benefits.
No because...
The Green Revolution is threatening the biodiversity of the Third World by replacing native seeds with hybrids. We do not know what the long-term environmental or economic consequences will be. We do know that in the short run, such hybrid crops can cause environmental problems by crowding out native plants and the wildlife which relies on them. The farmer growing hybrid crops must buy costly new seed every year because it cannot be saved to plant the following year’s crops. Farmers using hybrid seeds in what was the richest part of India went bankrupt. As a result, fertile lands lay idle and unploughed, resulting in droughts and desertification.

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Sinclair Biles
7 months ago

I feel that sustainable development could pave the way to environmental justice for developing countries, if done outside of the budget of already-developed countries. Modern imperialism has made it so that the fossil fuel and oil resources inside developing countries are already occupied by miners that funnel it to developed countries. If developing countries use fossil fuels and oil for their economic development, their primary sources of energy would already be under the control of the developed nations and they wouldn’t be economically independent. Sustainable technology for developing nations could pave the way for economic independence and create more international trade as already-developed nations move towards sustainability as well. Although, systematic imperialism is very hard to escape. For example, in 2012 Haiti, the US sent electricians to install solar energy into their sustainable infrastructure for a $1.4 billion project. They eventually did not end up installing the renewable infrastructure because of one of the scientists got raped by Haitian men, but still left Haiti with a $1.4 billion debt. If developing nations use loans from already developed nations to industrialize, they could still remain financially dependent on those nations.

7 months ago

Addressing the sick and poor people/countries is more imporatnt than saving natural resources – Pro: It is more important to help the people in developing countries than preserve our natural resources. Cons: If Developing nations get richer it means they will begin to use more and more resources that we really need to save so we can preserve the Earth for the future of humans.
Industrialization of developing countries with a green initiative holds back their development – Pro: Since countries are pushing environmental care on these newly industrializing countries it’s being seen as an attempt by countries to stop newly developing countries to overtake economic competitors. Cons: We are not saying that we don’t want countries to have growth but countries should take environmental care into account when they are growing so they won’t pollute the air or water.
Economic Development is vital to meet with the growing population in a country – Pro: Countries need to industrialize and trade to keep up with their countries growing population so people for example won’t run out of water. Cons: Population growth isn’t always a good thing because in Sub-Saharan Africa one of the reasons why it has such poverty and environmental problems is because of its rapid population growth. The amount of population can’t sustain with the resources it has.
Countries could enforce stricter environmental laws but it would hurt the labor force – Pro: In China or India if they shut down certain factories where they produced steel or some other resource that heavily polluted the air in the process would cause thousands of workers their jobs. Cons: Nations are losing more from pollution than from Industrialization because in China decades of extreme growth has led to areas with extreme air and water pollution.
Industrialization doesn’t have to pollute the environment – Pro: From the past we realized our mistakes with polluting with the environment and we can start to use more renewable or alternative sources of energy like nuclear or hydroelectric which would still enable countries to industrialize. Cons: Nuclear Power is viable but in the past there has been major accidents that have had many short and long-term effects and hydroelectric power isn’t great either since it cuts of the natural flow of rivers.
It is hypocritical to demand the developing nations to rely on renewable sources – Pro: Its hypocritical because the reason the rich nations became rich in the first place was because of destroying the natural environment and polluting air and water. Cons: If we demand developing nations to rely on renewable that meant he rich countries should as well it should be a joint effort so we can all cut down carbon emissions since climate change will have drastic effects on the world as a whole.
The Agricultural revolution has increased farming yields and techniques drastically – Pro: Now that we have access to better farming techniques like pesticides and GMOs it gives us a chance to grow much more food and better food to meet the growing populations demand of food. Cons: The problem with growing these crops that have been altered by GMOs or other techniques is that it eradicates the native plants in the area lessening an area’s biodiversity which has a huge effect on an ecosystem.
Is limiting population growth worldwide like China’s 1 child policy worth it so we don’t have a shortage of resources – Pro: It limits population so that we will use less resources that we would be using if population wasn’t stunted by this implemented policy. Cons: It limits population growth, which ultimately negatively affects a country’s totals output which will ultimately lower a country’s GDP.

7 months ago

In my opinion, I think that economic growth for developing countries is more important than protecting the environment. Developing countries aren’t worried about the environment, they are worried about the starvation, poverty,and diseases that are going on within their country. If they don’t have money to help themselves than much less will they protect the environment. Developing countries don’t have the money to spend it on expensive technologies and machinery that would help the environment. People who are worried about the environment more than the growth of developing countries often say that if the environment isn’t protected than it would hurt future generations, but if people are starving and dying because of the low growth and poverty, then there won’t be a future generation. For example, if you are thirsty and you have a cup of water, will you drink it or water the dying plant? The only way I see developing countries protecting the environment is if already developed countries aid them with technologies that would help the environment in production, it would be a lot of work because human capital will also be necessary which is something scarce in developing countries.

1 year ago

I feel like environmental care should be a priority, but I also don’t think that it should be left up to the developing nations to the work because these expectations are set by developed nations, they should also help these developing nations so the world can progress together because nothing significant will happen unless everyone helps and there can’t be the same expectation for those who don’t have to resources.

Mercy Neal
2 years ago

I, personally, think that this debate in itself is wrongly worded. Every degree of Celsius warming costs, on average, 1.2 percent of GDP due to resulting from changes in agriculture, crime, storms, energy, mortality, and labor. Although in the short run, economic growth could result from disregarding the health of our environment, in the long run, the only way to help those in need is to move towards long-run economic growth by saving our environment from complete obliteration. As the above debate states, there is much new technology that can be used by developing nations to advance without seriously damaging the environment. I do not discount the disparity and cruelty of our situation, and it is without a doubt unfair, but, as the writer, Terry Pratchett once stated, “Just because it isn’t your fault doesn’t mean it isn’t your responsibility.” The cruelty of past generations has left us all with a conundrum on our hands, and we cannot save our world unless we save it together. There are islands in the South Pacific where villages are already being evacuated from their century-old locations due to rising sea levels. The “debate” is no longer Economic growth against environmental stability. It is “Will we act before it is too late?”

2 years ago

I feel both environment and economic development should be given attention. It is true that more development creates environmental degradation.But before such developments if the environment is provided some protection against the harmful effects of development then I think, to some extent balance between environment and economic development will be achieved.

3 years ago

I too agree that environment should be given a highest place.Although if only the economic is developed by resulting many environmental damages.There want be any tolerable place to carry on more developments. Earth is the only place to survival,so we should choose environmental sustainability.

3 years ago

Imagine living underground for the rest of your life. Imagine taking drugs to keep your body sustainable. All that because you our climate is not survivable. Yes! This could be true one day. For the past 100 years we have been destroying our planet. Cutting trees, CO2 in the air, and pollution has lead our planet to a series condition. The climate change problem is bigger that what we think about it. The climate (which is different from weather) is changing at a serious rate. Many of you will say this is the earth and it has always been changing. Yes it has been changing, and many species have died because of it. IN addition, the climate is changing in a higher rate.
The main reasons behind the acceleration of climate change are factories and cutting trees (which are for economic growth). Once you increase the level of CO2 is air, the temperature increases which leads to many other problems. This might not be scary to everyone, but one thing is for sure. The Earth will balance itself. We might not know how it will, but it will affect the whole planet. When we feel hot, our body sweat. This is the way our body balance. What about Earth? This is our Home. Don’t you want to make it safe? We just have to balance between Economy Growth and Environment Protection.

Neptune Anderson
3 years ago

Look the truth is that in the end it’s gonna be Economic Development that’s gonna save a country. Industrialization would ultimately result in a literate country that would mean that people will have a more caring attitude then when compared to now[ illiterate]. Illiterates have completely no sense towards the environment , as we see most of the tobacco chewers and smokers are illiterate. This also pollutes the environment to an extent. Once literate , all these drugs will not be consumed leading to a better and cleaner environment. Thus industrialization is actually boosting up the conservation of environment , and if not , then at least it is limiting the pollution so that in the future we don’t have tons of stuff to clear.

Wialim Scmicht
3 years ago

Taking care of millions of people who are starving is more important than saving natural resources.
Pro: It is true that taking care of starving people is important, and some sacrifices to the environment may be necessary to do so.
Con: If we destroy the environment for everyone to save some people then the costs might outweigh the benefits.
The industrialised world’s emphasis on green issues holds back developing countries.
Pro: It is true that imposing regulations on developing countries limits their opportunities to grow by fully utilizing their natural resources.
Con: Sometimes the world just isn’t fair, countries that were developing years ago didn’t really know better, but now we do.
Economic development is vital for meeting the basic needs of the growing populations of developing countries.
Pro:It is true that developing their economies is essential for developing countries to provide for their populations.
Con:If this development comes at the price of gutting their environment they may not be able to meet the long term needs of their population.
Obviously the world would be better if all nations stuck to strict environmental rules.
Pro: If nobody polluted the environment certainly would be better off and people would be healthier in many places throughout the world.
Con: If everyone followed strict regulations there might be very little growth and the global economy could stagnate.
Rapid industrialisation does not have to put more pressure on the environment. Scientific advances can make up for the bad effects of industrialization.
Pro: Ideally, science could come up with ways to grow without heavily polluting and depleting the environment, and some technologies, such as solar power, seem promising.
Con: We have yet to see rapid industrialization without pollution and depletion so this may be an unrealistic goal.
It is hypocritical (two-faced and unfair) for rich developed countries to demand that poorer nations follow environmental regulations which they never had too when they were developing.
Pro: It is true that most of the developed world today were (or still are) major polluters for a long time, and that they are being hypocritical to tell the developing world to do as they say not as they do.
Con: In the 18th and 19th centuries people were largely unaware of the consequences of their industrialization so instead of calling the developed world hypocrites you could say they were canaries in the coal mine.
The “Green Revolution” has doubled the size of grain harvests. Thus, cutting down more forests to produce food is a good thing.
Pro: It is true that with the high output levels in modern agriculture we can produce huge amounts of food from clearing and farming forest areas.
Con: We have to consider the relative values of farming vs. maintaining the natural environment. Perhaps without as many forests the environment would be destabilized by extinctions or other unforeseen effects.

Dinitha Gangodavila
3 years ago

Well i personally think when you develop an economy, along with it develops all related areas. So when development take place there will be ways in which development can save the environment opposing to destroying it. We just have to give it time.

Caroline Bergevin
4 years ago

If the heart crash, the life of the complete humanity crash(rich or not) because our lifes depend of the heart healty, not the contrary. It’s a death or life humanity question here. So environment before cash.

4 years ago

Like look this may sound selfish but I really don’t care what happens to earth after 500 years…everyone born in this world has to die and so I think we should live happily and industrial development makes our lives easy and HAPPY

valand sagar
6 years ago

I think yes, environment is first then the economy. because the balancing is more important. in country economy is developed but the people are no contribution in economic development then the developmental is like a fake. so, according to me environment is first for any country in the world.

Phalguni Sharma
7 years ago

economy not only means finance..
It deals with the industrial setup of a country and the factories.
Industries clearly pollute the environment by chemical waste in water and air.
Natural resources are sustainable and essential for man kind, so definately ENVIRONMENT stands above ECONOMY..!!

3 years ago

What is the price of gold if it is not value???? Same goes for environment….. If there is no value of environment then it will be least valued

Ujjwal Sood
3 years ago
Reply to  Ansh

Industrial development is for our benefits but at the same time it’s is indirectly destroying us. Technology is very important but why do we need to hurt the earth with pollution and chemicals to improve our economic stability..environment is imp…… its gives us food. development is just hurting our earth. just to improve economic stability we are cutting our forests.

Scion Corregidor
2 years ago
Reply to  Ansh

First of all gold is needed for the economical growth for this country… It would really help for a better future for us humans.

7 years ago

First of all, We must maintain the environmental development first because of if you planting some trees at the traveling areas or the foreigners likes to visit, also that also makes income, and other people from another country will come into our country more and more…So IF you developed Environmental first, it will also help the economic too! because you get income from foriegners and finally you can donated to poor country and also develop our country..
-By: ConFineZ-

divyansh chawla
5 years ago
Reply to  ConFineZ555


if you dont have economic growth than can you plzz tell me how you can work for enviormental protection/progress.everything in this world needs money
first we need to make it than only you can do anything else
so i think that economic growth is more important than enviornmental protection

MG macuha
4 months ago

. No trees, water and other natural resources. Imagine, you have lost the environment just to gain the economy, gold or money. How can you use your money without resources. You can’t eat money.

7 years ago

i think that , yes, the environment is more important the economic growth, but , personally if you think about it clearly if it wasn’t for economic growth people would be worrying about the environment and the only way we can take care of the environment is through economic growth. also economic growth has been existing in many different ways in the fast millions of years…. all the way from the san people trading cows for sugar to trading notes for milk.