‘Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist.’ Do you agree?

YES: Environmental concerns and economic growth are antagonistic to each other and the expansion of one necessitates the diminution of the other.

  1. Much of our present economic growth remains driven by the use of polluting energy sources such as fossil fuels and it is impractical or unfeasible for many countries to carry out environmental protection policies that may impede attempts to provide adequate employment, attract investments or alleviate poverty.

  2. Economic growth in most countries today is based upon consumption, making the depletion of non-renewable resources such as water or endangered fish stocks and the subsequent environmental damage inevitable. 

  3. Rapid industrialization serves as a key strategy to reduce poverty, raise employment and create national wealth in an increasing number of developing countries, making the reduction or destruction of natural habitats and animal biodiversity a regrettable but unavoidable cost of economic growth.

  4. Globally, many governments depend on the business and wealth generated by powerful corporations to drive economic growth, thereby raising the incentive for many to reduce regulation or overlook irregularities relating to environmental protection.

NO: Environmental concerns and economic growth are not mutually exclusive and they share many common points which recommend their co-existence and synthesis.

  1. Improvements in technology increasingly balance economic growth with dependency on polluting energy sources and replacing them to some degree with alternative sources of clean energy.

  2. The present consumption cycle can be adapted to a more environmentally friendly yet profitable one when both producers and consumers dedicate themselves to ethical consumption and make, buy and use goods that have less impact on the environment.  

  3. Economic growth can be pursued by developing industries or sectors which sustain natural habitats and animal diversity, such as eco-tourism and government-regulated logging, making their co-existence a fact rather than wishful thinking. 

  4. Increasingly, governments and corporations recognize that investingmore into environmental protection and regulation helps win public goodwill and increases business opportunities, making the balancing of economic growth with environmental issues a more frequent occurrence.