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Environmental and Economic Development

Environmental Development

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Environmental and Economic Development


Environmental performance is a very important concern around the world since the environment is perceived as an input of production. Environment could be made of the natural and geographical infrastructure that can influence economic growth and economic development. However, the spread of human resources is not evenly distributed among the continents. The development of the develop countries is highly contributed by the available resources and thus a developed economy. The poor or the third world developing countries, however, are always hit the earliest and the hardest by unexpected crisis such as climatic changes and thus their economic development falls. This therefore implies that the environmental quality strongly affects and is as well affected by economic development. As such, the natural environment plays a major role in the economy as it acts as a direct input into production through the many resources it offers such as minerals and fossil fuel which directly facilitate production of good and services thus building the relationship between the environment and the economy.

An environment can therefore be defined as the natural world in which we live that is made up of people, animals and plants. It is the geographical area that affect and is affected by human practices. On the other hand, economy would mean the state of a given geographical area in terms of production and consumption of goods and services together with the supply of money. In general, it can be termed as all the available natural resources. The development of a continent is contributed by the economic growth which also depends on the environment. Development is thus defined as the a new improved energetic balance between the human relation and systems of land use ( environment), manufacturing, employment, consumption and supply which aim at the best use of physical and socio-economic resources(Todaro et al, 2015). Development is thus the actual change that is facilitated by the resourceful use of resources. Environment and economy are linked together for economic development.

Relationship between Economy and Environment

Environment and economy have direct effect on each other. Economic development depends on production and consumption of resources which are sourced from the environment. Production depends on the environment for the following; for the supply of natural resources, as a provider of environmental or facility goods and its volume as a waste sink (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). The environment offers natural resources that could be categorized as renewable or non- renewable. Enlightened countries are concerned with the green economy and the blue economy which are well-suited with the environment and the idea of sustainable environment. Blue economy contain rivers, seas and various marine resources while the green economy emphases on the uses of various industries, renewable energy, solar and wind. However, industries are destructive to the environment.

To begin with, the environment acts as a supplier of resource input for production and consumption. The distribution of natural resources land, water, raw materials that are important in production are not equally spread and vary between countries thus causing the differences in the countries’ economy (Todaro et al, 2015). The environmental resources are used in production of goods and services for use by the consumer. The goods and services obtained from production are therefore used by the people who form part of the environment. The availability of natural resources therefore determine the level of production which is the determinant factor of economic well-being and improve quality of the community.

Economic benefit is increased by utility of the goods that are derived from the consumption of from the environment. The environment offers universal services such as climatic control that is trees that take in carbon dioxide and provide oxygen for lives. This clearly indicate a clear relationship between the environment and the economy as people get to enjoy the biodiversity that exist in the world. On the other hand, environment stimulates production and consumption by assimilating the unused products of production and converting them into harmless or useful ecological products(Todaro et al, 2015). However, intentional release of waste products or damaging products to the environment because the physical assimilation capacity vary due to physical factors such as climate, rain, wind forms and the topographical location.

Most of the economic practices however, have adverse effects on the environment. For example, reduced or exhausted natural capital resources in the environment is contributed by the use of natural resources in production (Todaro et al, 2015). This may lead to environmental pollution or environmental degradation. In the contrary, in the course of environmental protection goals, it negatively impacts the economic development as it constraints businesses and consumer behavior through regulators or fiscal measures. The act of trying to save the environment will thus lead to the decline of the economic development.

Economic practices however contribute to environmental pollution. The environmental degradation lead to slow rate of economic development as it levies high costs on developing countries through health related expenditures and the condensed productivity of resources(Todaro et al, 2015). For example the degradation leads to failing of agricultural practices leading to decreased per capita food production because of the population pressure on marginal land. The result is as well the reduced economic development. Pollution of water lead to lack of access to sanitation and clean water which affects the health of the poor due to the infectious diseases worldwide.

Generally, environmental pollution promote damages that hinder the process of economic development. It leads to low production on economically exploited resources as the resources that would be available for production are scarce. Pollution lead to the high cost of using the natural resources for example water pollution calls for treatment which require a lot of expenses. The process of restoring back the environment after the degradation is costly (Todaro,2015). High cost is used in reducing and remedying the damages of pollution. Advancement in technology also contribute to increased costs resulting from the loss of raw materials and the energy resources.

Relationship between Environment and Development

The undeniable relationship between economic growth and development produces significant increase in interactions between development and environment. Through the environment, economic growth through production of goods and services within the economy lead to development. Development thus relies on how the available natural resources are being used. Civilization of a given continent would rely on the advantages and disadvantages of its environment (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). However, the rise of pollution and irrational use of natural resources coincide with invigoration of environmental movements. Due to the global concern that has arose because of the intensifying difference between the developed and the developing world countries, leaders concerned have to come up with new development ideas that are not only concerned with the economy but also the protection of the environment.

A sustainable development mainly consists of economic, social and environmental development. Sustainable development aptitudes economic growth from its old sense of increase of per capita income in concurrence with decrease of poverty and social disparities and on condition that natural resources will not be exhausted (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). Thus, development can be summarized by the equation:

Development = Natural Resources +Capital + Labor

Minimizing of the environmental impacts such as environmental degradation and pollution lead to furthering of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which acts as the overall measure of the domestic production. Kuznets curve has been created to give the representation of the of the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality. The Kuznets curve has it that the as the GDP rises, the environmental degradation also increases and beyond certain point the increase in GDP leads to reduction in environmental deterioration. For example where the income is low, pollution is considerable while at certain point level of income individual begin to consider the trade-off between environmental superiority and consumption. After a certain point then, the spending on decline dominates as individuals prefer enhancements in environment quality over further consumption and environmental superiority starts to progress in conjunction with economic growth. Below is the Environmental Kuznets Curve which show the relationship between various pointers of environmental degradation and per capita income.

Environmental Crisis and Economic System

Environmental crisis that are either predictable or unexpected have greatly been influenced by economic production. However, the poor countries are affected more by such crisis as compared to the developed countries which have new advanced technologies which enables them to curb such crises from occurring or reducing them ( Todaro et al, 2015). Production sector contribute to such environmental crises through pollution and environmental degradation.

The main effect of environmental pollution is change of climate. As predicted by the climate models, most middle east countries are likely to suffer in future due to climate changes. Global warming which is contributed by the destruction of the ozone layer has caused great climate changes. Global warming is due to the pollution of the atmosphere through the greenhouse effects and emission of harmful products the atmosphere (Todaro et al, 2015). It leads to desertification that has made the land degraded and not suitable for living as well as the destruction of human resources hence limiting production. In the end, climate changes would have adverse effects to the economy.

Environmental pollution lead to degradation of air and water. The main cause of polluted water as terrestrial run-off to in-shore water that occurs in many coastal locations. Degraded air is because of air pollution by emission of harmful gasses of the economic system to the atmosphere (Todaro et al, 2015). Such gasses affect the health of individual as it ruins the fresh air that is needed for life. Polluted water will therefore, mean scarcity of fresh water which then contribute to the health problems because of inadequate sanitation and water shortages.

Deforestation is another factor that has contributed to the environmental crisis. It involves cutting down of trees without replacing them planting. Deforestation destroys the home of wild animals as well as destroying the dependents that exist in the environment (Todaro et al, 2015). Animals would depend on plants for clean air and assimilation of the harmful waste products but with absence of forest, it would negatively affect the environment. Felling of trees with the aim of acquiring natural resources as well contribute to climate changes such as no rains and land degradation through soil erosion. With change in climate, there is failure in farming productivity and reduced per capita food production leading to hunger because of the population pressure of marginal land.

Furthermore, the lives of many plants and animals have been threatened to extinction due to spread of diseases caused by environmental crises. This is termed as bio adversity where animals and plants are subject to the conditions that they cannot sustain life. For example, depositing of harmful waste products to water which gives threats to marine life. Some harmful waste products affect the soil hence influencing growth of some species. This as well could cause health effects to the consumers of the farm products.

Another environmental crisis is stimulated by urbanization. Social and environmental factors such as overcrowding, congestion, pollution, public health issues, inadequate sanitation affect the environment (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). Pollution growth in the rural areas has force many people to migrate to urban areas where they cause congestion due to increased number of people. Regions with high populations are associated with poor and polluted environment. Rapid population growth and expanding economic activities damages the environment unless measures are put in place to mitigate its negative effects.

Third world countries face more poverty compared to the developed countries. However, the poor are likely to suffer more from environmental crisis caused by economic activities (Todaro et al, 2015). Land degradation from production would therefore mean that the poor have no choice than to live on the degraded unproductive land that is left. Moreover, the poor have no power to reduce pollution on where they live and by living on polluted land they have less land to work out of their poverty. The only way out to help the poor in this case is to prevent environmental degradation.

Measures to Solve Environmental Degradation

Solving environmental degradation means having sustainable environment. Several measures can be put in place to solve to ensure environmental sustainability. There is therefore a need to protect the environment so as to maintain its relationship with the economy. The first measure is the use of SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals which include climate, ocean, land, and responsible consumption and production and many more (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). The economist in production sectors such as industries should use the SDGs as the checklist of their industrial projects to ensure that they do not cause negative impacts to the environment. This will therefore help to reduce the intention of environmental pollution by industries. SDGs does a great job in integrating the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.

Continuous monitoring of industrial development has to be enhanced in order to have an environmental development. This will help to minimize environmental harm through pollution. Strategic was are put in place on how harmful waste should be disposed without causing further ham to the environment. As such, proper maintenance of the environment will enhance continuous economic production and thus increased environmental development. In addition, there is a need to develop trust between the two sectors of environment and development (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). Environmental degradation occurs where there is more sacrifice of environment for development. This has created the mistrust between the two sectors as the economist are not welcomed in environmental circle when it comes to issues important that are important to many.

Another concern is to promote the links between the environment and sustainable development. In the past, development was exclusively on economic growth which was often attained by removing natural capital (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). However the new nature aids as the basis over the long term because natural systems promote food surplus, fresh water, regulation of climate and safeguard the terrains’ biodiversity.

There is also a need to solve the problems caused by small scale miners despite that they are widely spread. Small- scale miners such as gold diggers degrade the environment causing damages illegally (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). Controlling such activities may be difficult to handle and thus the need to provide and create financial incentives would help to curb such. Small scale miners should refrain from their activities and thus offering them loans will help the venture in other activities other than mining that degrades the environment.

Support to social entrepreneurs is necessary to appreciate their initiative and motives to reduce environmental degradation. Some social entrepreneurs have come up with initiatives that would help develop the rural remote areas (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). Apart from rural area development, the initiative aims to maintain the environment by making use of the available resources. An example of such initiative is the introduction of solar power in the remote areas. This stimulates developments and natural source of power is available to carry out economic activities as well as it addresses the environment issues.

The environment sector and the development sector should be thought of as one sector. Linking the two sectors would enable them to come up with the goals that will help them operate to meet sustainable goals (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). The sustainable goals will help meet their desires as well as protecting development as well as addressing environmental issues. Reformations such as the transformation from marine governance to ecosystem governance is an example of the linkup between the sectors and it took place in some countries. Another solution that can address environmental degradation is educating of children about sustainability at early ages. The young generation will grow up knowing that there is a need to maintain sustainability both for the environment and development.

From the aforementioned mentioned measures, many countries have been able to have environmental development. The developed countries have meet their environmental development through proper utilization of its natural resources(Todaro et al, 2015). Availability of enough natural resources in a country provides a foundation for sustained inclusive growth, food, security, reduced poverty and human well-being. Clean environment also promote environmental development as it helps to curb environmental crisis which is the immense challenge to policy makers and organizations.

The environmentally developed countries in the world are categorized by GDP and per capita income. United Nations classifies countries as either developed as per the country’s economic development. From 2019 statistics, United Nations is the richest developed country with GDP of $21,433.23 billion while China is richest developing country with GDP of $14,279.94 billion (Katsoulakos et al, 2016) . Most developed countries are located in the North America, Europe, Developed Asia and Pacific. Other five top most developed countries by GDP per capita are; Luxemburg, Singapore, Ireland, Qatar and Bermuda.

Environmental Sustainability and its importance

Considering the support of peoples’ health and well- being now and the future as a accountability to conserve natural resources and to protect is said to be environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability is important because of how much vigor , food and human resources that we use on daily lives. High population has led to increased agricultural and manufacturing leading to more greenhouse effects, unsustainable energy use and desertification (Todaro et al, 2015). This therefore calls for the importance of a environmental development through provision of greener fiscal market, effective waste management and better natural resource management.

Its important to have environmental sustainability to tackle the effects of environmental changes, pollution and other environmental factors that harm peoples health. It also promotes reduction of hunger and poverty as there is proper management of natural resources. A sustainable environment leads to a sustainable economic growth . In addition, it contributes to sustainability to include the health of land, air and sea which form part of the environment (Katsoulakos et al, 2016). A sustainable environment leads to sustainable development and thus economic growth.


The development of every state depends on how the relationship of the environment, economy and development are managed. Proper management of the available natural resources promotes protection of both the environment as well as promoting development. However, environment crisis may come unexpected and the poor countries are the ones that are affected the most. For example, the inequality to adapt to crises such as changes in climate lead to wider disparities to such countries in wealth, security and opportunities for human development. For the developed countries, it is easier to adapt to any crisis along their way because of their developed infrastructure that can be manipulated easily. It is therefore important for countries to adopt the sustainability measures so as to protect the environment to which it provides the natural resources that provide livelihood to people. Environment and economy directly depend on each other and therefore it should be thought of as one sector and thus natural resource management and effective waste management should be encouraged


Todaro, Michael P., Smith, Stephen C.. (2015). Economic Development (Ed. 12th). Harlow: Pearson. Katsoulakos N.M, Mithos L.M.N, Doulos I.G, Kotsios V.S.(2016). Environment and Development. 1st ed.Elsevier.

Last Updated on December 26, 2021

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