Balance Between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection

Balance Between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection

The environment plays an important role in the life of human beings. In fact, the environment is the source of natural resources used in factories and industries for the production of goods for economic gains. In the past, most of the economies of the world only focused on exploiting the environment for financial gains without caring about environmental protection. As a result, the trend led to the destruction of the environment to the detriment of both human beings and animals. This is why it is important to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection. Consequently, this involves putting in place measure of reducing poverty white at the same addressing negative externalities that pollute the environment (Berckerman, 1992).

Short-term financial gains mostly instigate overexploitation of the environment, but the effects are long-term and dreadful. Indeed, a healthy environment should be treated equally with economic growth. In fact, economic growth is the answer to poverty and economic inequalities that exist in the society (Berckerman, 1992). Therefore, the value attached to economic growth should not blind the society from seeing the need for environmental protection. Moreover, natural resources are pertinent to sustainable economic growth. Conversely, failure to protect the environment leads to depletion of natural resources, which later affects economic growth and a sustainable ecosystem.

For instance, greenhouse emissions have largely been contributed by industrial processes both in developed and developing countries. As a result, these emissions affect the atmosphere, ease in global warming, and cause most of the health crisis such as cancer and respiratory diseases different parts of the world. Conversely, the driving force behind industrialization is economic gains. Therefore, short-term economic gains are given precedence at the expense of life and irreversible environmental changes. Undeniably, global warming is leading to a fatal climatic change in different parts of the world. For instance, the rate of desertification, sea level rise, soils degradation, melting glaciers and sea ice, a decrease in snow cover, ocean acidification, hurricanes and storms, floods and droughts are rapid in various parts of the world (Muller, Mendelsohn, & Nordhaus, 2011).

It is important to weigh the cost of environmental pollution against the short economic gains. For instance, an appraised 200,000 individual’s die yearly in the US out of air pollution related illness (Muller, Mendelsohn, & Nordhaus, 2011). In the year 2002, the cost of air pollution was estimated at $ 182 billion in a study, which only took into account adverse effects on human health, and a decline in agricultural produce excluding the effects of greenhouse emissions (Muller, Mendelsohn, & Nordhaus, 2011). When other forms of pollution such as water and soil are taken into account, their effects are detrimental to the life of human beings and the economy. Therefore, it is cheaper to protect the environment than to reverse the changes caused by environmental destruction. The cost of natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes has been humongous in the country, but famines and droughts could be averted by taking light environmental protection measures.

Evidently, the value of economic growth is very crucial for sustainable development and quality of life, but economic growth should not be given too much value focus than environmental protection. Moreover, the cost of protecting the environment is less than the cost of reversing effects of environmental destruction. Consequently, there is a need for the Federal, state and local governments to put in place regulatory measures that ensure a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.




Berckerman, W. (1992). Economic development and environment: Conflict or complementary? Washington: World Bank.

Muller, N. Z., Mendelsohn, R., & Nordhaus, W. (2011). Environmental accounting for pollution. American Economic Review, 101, 1649-1675.


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