Friday, May 16, 2014

Environmental Regulation and Economic Development by Cammi Hubert

Warner Pacific College
May 15, 2014

Environmental Regulation and Economic Development
             I believe the most concerning consideration to environment and economy is the assumption that a great deal of our population has relating to resources being infinite or substitutable. It appears that most of the focus of whether to deplete a resource is essentially believed that the resource itself will be substituted by some replacement. I feel that most people’s interest’s in their environment is based on instant gratification and a huge portion of our population tends to not think at all about the long term cost of using up a natural resource.
            In the 50 years that I have been alive I have witnessed the absolute destruction of our air, land, waters and wildlife. There are more and more species of animals that are becoming extinct, not because we have hunted them to death but because we have taken so much of their habitat that they are not able to survive without the necessities that sustain their future.
            Even with the cost and benefit analysis it appears that the benefits are presented and the costs take a back seat. “Problems arise when not all costs and benefits can be easily identified, defined, or quantified. It may be simple to quantify the value of bananas grown or cattle raised on a tract of land cleared for agriculture, yet difficult to assign monetary value to the complex ecological costs of clearing the forest” (Laposata & Withgott, 2014). Environmental regulations are necessary and need to be enforced but they also need to take all of the costs into consideration when regulating any resource.
            In my opinion the human population prefers to have the benefit of any kind of value in the present and appear to have an attitude that what matters is the moment and not how we can be affected in the future. This is called discounting in economic terminology.  “Discounting encourages policymakers to play down the long-term consequences of decisions” (Laposata & Withgott, 2014).  Because the problems that will likely arise in the long term from an environmental decision or policy are so gradual that the depletion of the resource, pollution buildup or any other long term impact is discounted. By discounting the future consequence of an environmental decision we are essentially projecting the problems onto future generations.
            So what do we owe our future generations? I believe we have a responsibility to provide protection for our environment before we no longer have an environment to protect. If we want to support sustainability we have to support our environment. Many of the luxuries we have today are directly related to the resources we have accessed from our natural environment. Populations, not just in the United States, but in many other countries continue to increase at alarming rates. What will be left for our children and their children?
If we destroy the environment, we will commit a crime to the future generations. So we should attach importance to environmental protection in order to leave a better living space to our future generations. Besides, environmental protection is the requirement of the order of nature.
            I feel that we as a human race have the information, education and technology to do something about this serious dilemma. We are members of the natural world along with the waterways, forests, mountains and other species and we must remember that without nature we would have no growth. It has to stop and if we stop it now there is a chance we will have something left. Environmental regulation is imperative to the protection of the world around us. What is being overlooked is the long term impact of our decisions and just because we will no longer be alive does not mean we will not be affected. Our future is the present and we need to pay attention now.            

 Laposata, M., & Withgott, J. (2014). Environment:the science behind the stories. (5 ed., pp. 146, 147). Glenview , IL: Pearson Education, Inc.

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