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Economic growth and environmental damage

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Economicgrowth and environmental damage

Itis the vision and responsibility of every government globally toinitiate activities that lead to economic growth. This is because anation that is economically empowered can cater to the needs of itspeople. Additionally, this type of development is required as itenables a nation to provide for the needs of its growing population,especially in an era where resourced have become fatally scarce.However, economic empowerment usually affects the environmentnegatively. Today, the sustainability of the planet has beensignificantly jeopardized by the activities carried out by humans intheir quest to expound economic strength. This has forced the worldto re-examine business policies to ensure that they do not lead tothe total degradation of the environment. The paper evaluates therelationship between economic growth and environmental damage. Italso provides an analysis of policies that need to be upheld toensure the sustainable growth patterns. It seeks to show thateconomic growth leads to environmental damage in the long run andthus it is more prudent to implement sustainable policies in order tosafeguard and protect the natural order.

Economicgrowth and environmental Damage

Tounderstand how economic growth impact the environment, it isimportant to evaluate factors that indicate an economy is growing.Currently, the world associates economic prosperity with high levelsof industrialization. This is because there is no nation that hasbeen able to grow and expand without having to invest substantiallyin its industrial sector. For this to be achieved, there must be landclearing to have adequate space to build the factories. Additionally,when an economy is expanding, there is massive investment inresidential housing which will be occupied by industrial workers.Prosperity is also indicated by the extensive exploration andutilization of natural resources for industrial and domestic use(Boons et al., p 2). Lastly, economic growth is illustrated byinfrastructure development which aims at ensuring ease in movementsof goods and people and also to facilitate efficient delivery ofservices.

Thefactors listed above are all advanced with the aim of bettering thelives of members of the society. However, economic growth leads tothe following environmental issues. Firstly, it leads to thedestruction of rain forests, and the natural topography. This is donewith the aim of creating adequate space where the industries aregoing to be set up (Lorek and Joachim, p 34). Additionally, thedestruction occurs through explorations of mineral where large tracksof land are cleared and natural habitats destroyed. When suchfactories and mineral site run out of use, they are abandoned with noeffort of trying to restore the natural order that existed before theindustries were build.

Economicdevelopment also lead to increased pollution which may take the formof noise, water and consumption littering. Industries tend toreleases a lot of harmful gasses into the atmosphere, and this leadsto the greenhouse effect which is the leading cause of globalwarming. Additionally, these factories release chemicals and othertoxic liquids without proper treatment. When these substances getinto water bodies, they lead to pollution as the water cannot be usedfor drinking or sustaining the animals that live in water bodies(Ciegis, Jolita, and Bronislovas, p 22). Consumption pollution, onthe other hand, occurs during the production process where pollutantproducts considered to be of no value are disposed in theenvironment. When the final product is sold to the consumer, there isalso an aspect of pollution where the packaging material or theremnant of what remains after use are introduced into the environmentas waste.

Over-populationis another way through which economic growth leads to environmentaldestruction. This is because, industrialization, which precipitateseconomic growth, leads to people living in cities where factories arelocated (Pearce, Edward, and Anil, p 115). Currently, over 50% of theglobal population lives in towns. This creates a resource strain assmall portions of land are expected to support a massive number ofpeople .additionally, there is over-exploitation of natural resourcesnear these cities as the land struggles to sustain the vastpopulation. Waste accumulation and pollution are also as a result ofover-population.

Environmentaldestruction also occurs through species extinction that lead to lossof biodiversity. As noted earlier, economic growth usually leads tooverexploitation of natural resources. This is because of thetendency to come up with better methods of attaining requiredmaterials with little consideration of what will happen to thespecies that are going to be affected (Tietenberg and Lynne, p 82).Currently, scientist approximate that as much as a third of allspecies have become extinct as a result of human activities.Additionally, they project that at the current pace over two-thirdsof all species will have been lost by the end of the century. Speciesextinction and loss of biodiversity occur as a result of thedestruction of tropical forests, and similar habitats, overfishingthat has continued to threaten all marine life and the changingglobal climate that continues to interfere with the natural order ofthing and thus leading to extinction.

Lastly,economic expansion leads to an unsustainable rate of growth. Thisoccurs due to the cost that an economy incurs to cater for all theadverse effects of the environmental destruction. When a country isexperiencing high growth rate, it is usually because there is noconsideration for the environment, thus no resources are spent(Pearce, Edward, and Anil, p 132). However, this trend can only besustainable in the short-run until the country starts to experienceincreased cost resulting from poor environmental policies. To ensuresustainable growth trends, it is important for the society to makesure there are strict regulations in regard to how the economyinteracts with the environment.

Sustainableeconomic growth

Asstated above, economic growth which is based on policies that havelittle or no regards for the environment is unsustainable. However,there are policies that if implemented can ensure economic growththat does not result in the destruction of the environment. This canbe achieved through the following. Firstly, a country can enactregulations that require companies to implement strict environmentalstandards which ensure industries conduct their activitiesresponsible. For instance, the law may require a company to have asound waste management policy which should include recycling of wasteproducts to ensure that there is little that goes to harm theenvironment (Lorek and Joachim, p 42). Additionally, they should berequired to engage in regular environmental assessments to ensurethat their activities are not doing more harm than good.

Secondly,sustainability can be achieved through the use of products that leastharm the environment. For instance, factories can opt to userenewable energy as opposed to coal or other environmentally harmfulsources. This will ensure that there is a reduction of potential harmthat can be done to the environment by the industries. A robustpublic awareness campaign is another policy that can be used toachieve sustainable economic development (Boons et al., p 6). Here,the public needs to be taught on the benefits of environmentalprotection and be encouraged to be ambassadors of ensuring those thatharm their surroundings are dealt with by relevant authorities. Theyshould also be taught of ways that they can contribute tosustainability by encouraging things like recycling of goods andoptimal utilization of resources like water and power.

Lastly,sustainable economic growth can be achieved through governmentpolicies that are aimed at population distribution, economicdiversification and environmental protection programs designed toensure biodiversity. As stated earlier, overpopulation in cities isone of the leading causes of environmental destruction. However, thegovernment can ease the stress on these areas by encouraging peopleto settle in other areas. This can be achieved through the provisionof better transportation networks that allow people to live outsidethe cities and still be able to report for work. On the other hand,diversification of the economy will ensure that the nation is notover-reliant on the manufacturing sector and thus reduce the amountof pollution coming from the industries (Ghai and Jessica, p 67). Inregards to the adaptation of protectionist programs for naturalhabitats, the government has a role in ensuring that these sites areguarded from unscrupulous individuals who would like to make profitsat the expense of biodiversity. Protecting such sites ensures thenatural order of things is maintained and this, in turn, ensures thatthe environment is a position to sustain the needs of the nation.

Conclusion

Fromthe above discussion, it is evident that there is some correlationbetween economic growth and environmental damage. Increasedinvestments towards ensuring the economy grows tend to result in thedestruction of the environment making such growth unsustainable.However, as evidenced by the discussion, it is possible to haveeconomic prosperity without necessarily destroying the surrounding byadopting sustainable economic development policies. Manyorganizations and government alike tend to avoid implementing thesepolicies in fear that they will increase the operating cost and thuslead to stagnation. However, the benefits that will be accrued in thelong-run from the adoption and implementation of these policies faroutweigh the costs to be incurred. Thus, it is upon stakeholders tocome up with a strategy which will ensure that these policies areimplemented in the soonest time possible. This action will not onlylead to sustainable economic growth, but also ensure that futuregenerations will live in a sustainable planet that can cater for alltheir needs.

Workscited

Boons,Frank, et al. &quotSustainable innovation, business models andeconomic performance: an overview.&quot Journal of CleanerProduction 45 (2013): 1-8.

Ciegis,Remigijus, Jolita Ramanauskiene, and Bronislovas Martinkus. &quotTheconcept of sustainable development and its use for sustainabilityscenarios.&quot Engineering Economics 62.2 (2015).

Ghai,Dharam, and Jessica M. Vivian. Grassroots environmental action:people`s participation in sustainable development. Routledge, 2014.

Lorek,Sylvia, and Joachim H. Spangenberg. &quotSustainable consumptionwithin a sustainable economy–beyond green growth and greeneconomies.&quot Journal of cleaner production 63 (2014): 33-44.

Pearce,David, Edward Barbier, and Anil Markandya. Sustainable development:economics and environment in the Third World. Routledge, 2013.

Tietenberg,Thomas H., and Lynne Lewis. Environmental and natural resourceeconomics. Routledge, 2016.