“When a choice is to be made between the socio-economic development and the environmental protection, we must choose the latter.” Give arguments For and Against the view.
The developing countries of the world, including India, are grappling with the problem of poverty and deprivement of large sections of population. While the focus of the public policy in the developed countries is on the environmental protection, the developing world is busy in ameliorating the poverty and empowering the underprivileged sections of the society. The socio-economic development at times tries to strike a compromise with the environmental issues and many believe that when there is a conflict between the environment and the socio-economic development, the environment must be accorded priority.
Arguments For the View
(a) Environment is under tremendous stress because of increasing population pressure on this planet. It may be disastrous for the entire world if the issues relating to the environmental protection are overlooked. And when the disasters strike, these do not distinguish between the affluent and the poor or the developed or the underdeveloped.
(b) Placing more emphasis on the socio-economic development by ignoring the environmental issues is a short- sighted and short-term approach.
(c) In the overall interest of humanity, it is imperative to give priority to the environmental issues over the economic development, in case of a clash between the two.
(d) Socio-economic development has no meaning if the whole humanity is endangered. The environmental degradation would not only affect the climate, but also the air and water quality on this earth, which are essential requirements for sustaining the life.
Arguments Against the View
(a) The environmental issues can come to the fore only after the basic needs like food, clothing and shelter are met.
(b) The developed nations have exploited the earth and its resources for several decades and now when the developing nations are growing rapidly, these countries fear that the resources may actually be stretched and less and less would be left for them on earth. That is why these countries now talk of the environmental protection.
(c) When we talk of human rights, the primary concern is the dignified and sustainable livelihood for all, on the one hand, and physiological needs, on the other. Human rights would be grossly violated if these basic needs of the citizens are not met. The environmentalists must understand this.
(d) The poor want their government to make suitable arrangements for the bare minimum needs first. In other words, unless the minimum needs are met, it is useless to talk about the environmental issues.