“There is no point in getting rich if we lose our soul along the way” (Zama, 2009), a quote which highlights the insignificance of economic growth in comparison to today degrading environment. The economic growth, like some economists have claimed, is seen as a way of lifting developing countries out of poverty. However, economic growth comes at a prize. With the ever-growing industrial activities, earth's environment is sinking at a never-before-seen rate. This clash of opinions has comprised a question of whether or not we should sacrifice economic growth for our environment. This essay will first put forward three main arguments to why we should sacrifice economic growth for the environment. It will then consider the reasons why we should not sacrifice economic growth and point out some problems with this view.
Firstly, economic growth should be sacrificed because it will lead to the eradication of our planet’s abundant natural resources. As the economy grows, the population also increases; therefore, with a wide range of economic activities currently carried out, our resources are being cleared on a day-to-day basis. For instance, according to Greenpeace, in every minute, 20 football fields of rainforest are destroyed through commercial logging. In addition to this, minerals and fossil fuels are rapidly extracted and used up. According to an article Peak everything: Global resource depletion rates by Richard Heinberg, it was stated that in 50 years’ time, those important and useful resources such as tin, lead and oil will disappeared from this planet. These show that without sacrificing economic growth, earth’s resources will for sure be vanished.
Secondly, economic growth should be sacrificed, for it will eliminate all forms of life existing on our planet. Since the beginning of industrial revolution, the quality of the environment deteriorates day-by-day resulting from human industrial activities. These unstoppable activities can contribute to global warming which has great effects on the ecological sustainability on this planet. For example, the mechanism of economic growth such as deforestation can result in desertification, and when this happens, wildlife habitats and other diversities will be endangered. Nowadays, there is a massive loss of species in an alarming rate; more than 50 species of birds, over 75 species of mammals have become extinct, and perhaps hundreds of other species including human race too will become extinct if the needs of economic growth still grow.
By sacrificing economic growth, the world will see sustainability. Slowing down the growth of the economy involves the reduction of economic activities such as manufacturing, which will have a tremendous impact on the earth rising temperature with the drop in greenhouse gases emission. According to an article published in Geophysical Research Letters, it was stated that greenhouse gases once emitted are likely to stay in earth atmosphere for thousands of year, and scientists’ calculations have shown that global temperature would actually decline only when all activities are eliminated. This shows that sustainability can only be achieved when the needs of economic growth subside.
It has been argued that without economic growth, a country will not be able to seek development, for economic growth helps bring about better living standard. On the one hand, the idea is considered partly true. However, the opposition has failed to address the fact that we human beings can never subsist comfortably and enjoy the outputs of the economic growth without environmental sustainability. By all odds, environmental deterioration does contribute adverse impacts on our quality of life. Therefore, we strongly support that humans are bound to hold a sense of environmental protection.