Economic growth vs Environmental Conservation

By: Soham Thakare

“How Economic growth and Environmental Conservation are linked with each other”

Environmental Conservation:

We only have one planet on which we live. This planet is full of resources that are renewable and non-renewable but the uprising of population day-by-day poses a huge threat to all these resources.

It is very difficult for future generations as it would be a big concern for them if we exploit all the available resources. To resolve this issue as well as ensure we leave some resources for the future, by the way of environmental conservation.

Environmental conservation is the practice of humans which saves the environment from the loss of species and the destruction of the ecosystem, primarily due to the pollution and the activities done by humans.

Conservation plays a vital role in saving and helping both animals and trees as we are all completely dependent on one another for survival. Trees convert the carbon dioxide produced by the factories into oxygen, which helps humans to breathe and respire.

The loss of species, which makes them go extinct, would mean that they are forever lost and cannot be seen by curious eyes or studied by scientific minds. Such loss or destruction of ecosystems would disrupt the food web, which imbalances the ecosystem in general.

Environmental Conservation is an umbrella term that defines any activity which we do to protect our planet and conserve its natural resources so that every living thing can have a dignified quality of life.  

Importance of Environmental Conservation:

It has become most important to work towards environmental conservation in this contemporary times. The following points are important to save the environment from degradation:

  • To reduce air, water and land pollution
  • To facilitate the conservation of natural resources for our future generations
  • To ensure the protection of biodiversity
  • To implement sustainable development
  • To restore the ecological balance
  • To save our planet from harmful repercussions of global warming

Methods for Environmental Conservation:

  • 1) Forest Conservation: Afforestation and reforestation help in conserving the forests, which are responsible for absorbing a huge amount of carbon dioxide from searching the atmosphere. We should make it our life mission to plant trees as much as possible. 
  • 2) Soil Conservation: It helps control corrosions and improve the soil for agricultural purposes. We should protect pasture lands and grow cover crops which regulate the blowing away of soils. 
  • 3) Managing Conservation: Solid waste is produced by market areas, industries, homes, settlement areas and many others locations. Municipalities should conduct programs that mange solid wastes, designating litter bins all over the towns and collecting the waste regularly. 4) Control Pollution: Pollution should be controlled as much as possible. Composing can be adopted. Avoid chemical fertilizers herbicides, pesticides and insecticides that pollute the environment. 
  • 5) Create Public Awareness: Make people aware of the consequences of our activities through the various means available such as social media, seminar and the traditional media. Everyone should be made aware of the ways to conserve the environment and potential consequences if we do not take care of the Environment.

Measures to Conserve the Environment:

Here are some measures to save the environment:

  1. Deforestation must be stopped
  2. Natural non-renewable resources must be utilized properly
  3. Every year, we lose a huge number of forest life due to forest fire. We must find a solution to this.
  4. Afforestation is the best way to conserve the environment
  5. Create public awareness
  6. Control pollution and population
  7. Recycle goods
  8. Adopt an environment-friendly lifestyle
  9. Adopt waste management techniques
  10. Species on the verge of extension should be saved.

How to promote Environmental Conservation?

  • Education: Environmentalism needs to be a bigger part of the education system, from elementary school on up. We should teach our young ones how to take care of the environment as well as the consequences of not doing so. For instance, create an event which sees school-going kids plant trees and take care of them for as long as they are in the institution. By the time they graduate, the trees will be bigger and will help the environment.
  • Talk about it: Simply talk about environmental conservation in everyday life, blogs, vlogs, books, and articles. Also, elect leaders who are aware of environmental conservation and see the need to conserve the environment. Talk about it even in churches, in seminars, in school, and in other locations. Promote the cause and talk about it everywhere, not just in limited contexts.
  • Engaged the community: Engage the community in tree-planting exercises as well as events that see the environment cleaned. For instance, in Rwanda, they have what is called ‘Umuganda’, which is a community clean-up exercise, held each last Saturday of each month, where everyone has to spend the day cleaning the environment and those who do not participate are fined.
  • Ban Plastics: Plastics are responsible for a dirtier environment. They ought to be banned and people should learn to either recycle or reuse them or fail to use them at all.
  • Creates Legislation that promotes Environmental Conservation: Governments should come up with legislation that promotes environmental conservation. This should also be done on an international level, led by international agencies such as the United Nation with its UN Environment Program.

Economic Growth:

Economic growth is an increase in the production of goods and services over a specified period which creates more profit for businesses. Gross domestic product is the best way to measure economic growth because it takes into account the country’s entire economic output.

GDP includes all goods and services that businesses in the country produce for sale. It doesn’t matter whether they are sold domestically or overseas.

Linkage between both the terms: 

The issue of economic growth and the environment essentially concerns that the kind of pressure that economic growth has at the national and the international level places on the environment over time. Gradually humans understand the impact that economic decisions have on the sustainability and quality of the planet.

Economic growth is commonly defined as increases in the total output from new resources or better use of existing resources; it is measured by increased real income per capita. All economic growth involves transforming the natural world and it can affect environmental quality in one way. Environmental quality can be increased with growth and increased incomes.

For example, by providing the resources for public services such as sanitation and rural electricity with these services which are widely available, the individual need to worry less about survival and can devote more resources to conservation.

Environmental quality can initially worsen but then improve as the growth rate rises. In the cases of air pollution, water pollution, and deforestation and encroachment there is little incentive for any individual to invest in maintaining the quality of the environment.

These problems can only improve when countries deliberately introduce long-range policies to ensure that additional resources are devoted to dealing with them. Third, environmental quality can decrease when the rate of growth increases.

In the cases of emissions generated by the disposal of municipal solid waste, for example, abatement is relatively expensive and the costs associated with the emissions and wastes are not perceived as high because they are often borne by someone else.

Economic growth will be undermined without adequate environmental safeguards, and environmental protection will fail without economic growth.

Many contemporary economists and environmentalists argue that the value of the environment should nonetheless be factored into the economic policy decision-making process.

The goal is not necessarily to put monetary values on environmental resources; it is rather to determine how much environmental quality is being given up in the name of economic growth, and how much growth is being given up in the name of the environment.

The Danger

A danger always exists that too much income growth may be given up in the future because of a failure to clarify and minimize trade-offs and to take advantage of policies that are good for both economic growth and the environment.

Promoting growth, alleviating poverty, and protecting the environment may be mutually supportive objectives in the long run, but they are not always compatible in the short run. Poverty is a major cause of environmental degradation, and economic growth is thus necessary to improve the environment.

Yet, ill-managed economic growth can also destroy the environment and further jeopardize the lives of the poor. In many poor but still forested countries, timber is a good short-run source of foreign exchange.

When demand for Indonesia’s traditional commodity export—petroleum—fell and its foreign exchange income slowed, Indonesia began depleting its hardwood forests at non-sustainable rates in order to earn export income.

Conclusion

The economic growth and environmental conservation both are linked with each other. The growth of the nation is not possible without environmental conservation and vice-versa as all the factors of production are linked up with each other.

To prevent the environment, The Environment Protection Act, 1986 has been made. This act protects the environment from various hazardous substances which are harmful to the environment which degrades the world.

There should be legislation that restricts the activity of humans in a contest of environment and if it is restricted the growth of the nation can be seen in a limited period of time all over the world. 

References

1] https://cdn.s3waas.gov.in/s3c5ff2543b53f4cc0ad3819a36752467b/uploads/2021/03/2021032253.pdf 

2] https://leverageedu.com/blog/environmental-conservation/ 

3] https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/methods-and-importance-of-environmental-conservation.php 

4]  https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-economic-growth-3306014 

5] https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/economic-growth-and-environment 

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