Find out more on the topic of Environment and understand why it can have a significant impact on a country’s economy, especially the immense influence Environment locally and internationally. Examine the economic perspectives of environment to grasp a better understanding of environment as an area of study for A Level General Paper examination.
Why environmental conservation needs to be sustainable?
From an economic perspective, the measures to live our way of environmentally sustainable lifestyle must be economically viable. It is important to ensure that the environmentally friendly measures taken are economically sustainable where it will not create financial burden and meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. As such, this will allow the measures to continue in a long run.
Develop renewable technology
The advancement of technology have developed clean forms of renewable energy, which can replace traditional methods of fuelling production.
Developing renewable technology will allow economic growth to be obtained without harming the environment and compromising other developmental priorities. One can afford within limits and develop smart, inexpensive and perhaps profitable ways of caring for the environment. For example, less developed countries like Costa Rica, Kenya and Brazil are benefiting from the Green Revolution’s call for the use of alternative energy resources and the resultant increased demand for energy crops that make up the biofuels industry, showing that development and being environmentally friendly can happen concurrently.
However, there can still be a conflict between economic growth and developing renewable technology. The lack of funds or unwillingness to further their debt deter most developing nations from venturing cleaner alternatives of fuelling production without inducing huge environmental costs. As such developing renewable technology may not be the priority of the developing nations in the quest of achieving economic growth.
Can we reduce the rate of resource depletion by consuming less?
Consuming less can be one method to reduce the rate of resource depletion such that it decreases the production level in order to prevent harming the environment to such a large extent. However, consuming less may not be in the interest of a country where they focus on economic growth. By decreasing production level it will prevent them from being able to maximise profits such that consuming less may not be the most viable option. Instead, we can try use method of production with a greater efficiency to maximise the resources given in order to prevent wastage.
GP Essay on Economic Perspective – ‘Science is our only hope for solving all our environmental problems.’ How far do you agree?
This article is the 4th segment of a 5-part series covering Culture. To ensure seamless reading, you may wish to start from the first segment of ‘How does Environment affect us?’
The advent of science has created controversial assertions that we may have the capacity to provide solutions to resolve the environmental problems that is currently plaguing the world. To the technocrats and scientists who strongly embrace this assertion, science is seen as the only viable means as science is a robust scientific framework that will quantify and fully understand the environmental problems so as to derive the application of solutions. However, detractors of this assertion feel that science has its limitations in solving a complex and dimensional issue like environmental degradation and thus, is not rationale to see it as our only hope for solving environmental problems.
1) Why science is being seen as the only solution to solve the environmental problems
Science shed light on environmental degradation to understand the problems that we are facing to enable us to understand the causes and derive the solutions.
In 1973, Chemists Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina publish their landmark findings that chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) can destroy ozone molecules and could possibly threaten to erode the earth’s protective ozone layer.
The massive body of research reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents the cutting edge of research in disciplines including physics, chemistry, geology and biology.
A robust scientific framework is necessary to quantify and fully understand problems as well as to set and reach appropriate goals on how we can solve the environmental problems.
Not only defining and understanding the environmental problems, science also underpins effective, viable solutions addressing some of the problems
Created by the British architect Norman Foster, Masdar City is a radically innovative development powered entirely by renewable energy and the walled community is designed to be car-free and served by magnetic trains, while conservation needs will keep water use 60% below the norm and all waste will be composted and recycled.
Alternative energy such as nuclear or solar energy is made possible with science as it reduces the high degree of dependency on fossil-fuel energy to fuel our progress which is the chief cause of the imminent impact of global warming.
2) Why science cannot be the only solutions?
Our understanding of science is limited and the nature of environment is complex and thus, it is not possible to for science to derive a technological solution to ecologically substitutes the natural process to contain environmental impact.
Nuclear technology may be the answer to the lack of renewable and clean energy but the safety level of the technology and the treatment of nuclear waste pose great concern over the proliferation.
The meltdown at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania and the fire mishap at one of the four reactors at the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant will raise our doubts over the readiness of the replacement of the fossil fuel energy by nuclear energy.
Use of Biofuel also has its limitation as it will have higher degree of deforestation as there is higher degree of demand for land for cash crop which will destroy habitats, leading to epidemic of diseases like Malaria and dengue fever.
We must also not ignore the fact that the means to resolve our environmental issue is also the source of our problems.
The technology to harness viable and clean energy has also become the source of environmental degradation as seen in how Gates at Three Gorges Dam are shut and China’s Yangtze River starts filling the reservoir, flooding towns, farmlands and archaeological sites, and forcing the relocation of nearly 2 million people while it undermines the ecological habitats along the river.
Our application of science into technology to change the way we live, work and travel creates the reliance on fossil fuel production to power the production of goods that will improves lives in all aspects is the main cause of global warming as a result of carbon emission.
In 1983, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences release reports concluding that the build-up of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ in the earth’s atmosphere will likely lead to global warming. Recent reports from ‘The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’ also support this causation.
3) Why other solutions are needed? Science cannot be the only solution.
Although technological development could perhaps alleviate pollution and improve waste disposal methods, our consumerist lifestyles will make it difficult to deviate ourselves from creating damages.
Our attitudes and lifestyles need to be changed, rather radically, to prevent further environmental degradation, and even more radically to reverse the environmental degradation we have caused thus far. Technology is very much unable to do so, apart from making the greener alternatives more attractive in terms of their value and costs.
Environmental education is a permanent process involving individuals gaining awareness of their environment, and acquiring knowledge, skills, experiences and attitudes which enable them to act individually and collectively to change their consumerist lifestyles. As rationality suggests, when the buying stops, the damage will stop.
Efforts on a larger scale like national policies and global collaborative efforts are needed tackle environmental problems as there is a need of legislatures and funding to provide the community and the individuals the infrastructural and institutional support for implementation of technological measures on a global scale.
The groundbreaking UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil adopts Agenda 21, a voluminous blueprint for sustainable development that calls for improving the quality of life on earth. This serves the establishment other protocols to take actions on the environmental issues.
Seeing science as the only hope for the resolve of our environmental may be a wishful thinking when we consider its limitations and the complexity of the environmental issue but it has its relevance as the use of technology is still needed to make the greener alternatives more viable and less costly. It is definitely far fetch to see as the only hope but its importance and contribution cannot be ignored and its application is only made possible if it is introduced with other considerations.
How else is Environment important to us?
Discover the different impacts that can be used to explain the GP issue of Environment, such as individual, social and political viewpoints. Our comprehensive GP Tuition programme and organised materials that are prepared for examination application purposes for JC1 and JC2 students will equipped you with the necessary knowledge needed for you A Levels GP Examination.
Examine how environmental issues can affect our lifestyle in terms of our health and personal health expenses. Educate yourself with the negative impact of environmental problems on Mankind to be prepared with the appropriate measures to minimise its harmful effects on our lives at GP Tuition Tampines.
We will be discussing the social impacts of environment and how society can either be the boon or bane of the environment. As such, the social perspective is an important aspect of environment due to the significant it plays which will be discussed in GP Tuition Bishan.
In this section, you can share with us your views on a given topic for discussion to exercise your thinking capabilities and learn to apply your newfound knowledge to questions that are related to GP essays and comprehensions. You can also browse through the comments posted by our fellow students to obtain broader perspectives and synergise your understanding of the topic of Environment.