How Economic Growth Can Prevent The Next Extinction

September 18, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

In its Special Report this week The Economist argues that economic growth can be the saviour that prevents animal species on our planet from going extinct:

  • Economic growth is generally thought to harm the environment, but, in fact, it is poverty that is bad for the environment.
  • North Korea, for example, is poor, and its forests have rapidly been shrinking. South Korea, on the other hand, is rich and its forest levels are stable.
  • When people become richer they generally focus on things such as cleaning up water supplies and improving environments which helps animals as well as humans.
  • Richer countries usually have more intensive farming which means more land can be turned into forest or wilderness.
  • Conservation requires effective government, and this normally requires a certain level of national wealth.
  • Richer countries are more peaceful and for the most part (though not always) peace creates a safer environment for animals since it means that habitats aren’t being destroyed.
  • In richer countries women are more educated and have fewer children – which ultimately creates more space for animals to live in harmony.
  • Growth brings scientific advancement which makes conservation efforts easier. Microsoft Research for example has developed systems that have aided conservationists.

You can read the full report over here, and the article that presents the main thesis here. The report is much longer, contains more information, and is an important read for anybody interested in ensuring the future of biodiversity on our planet.

Source: The Economist