Economic Growth and Environmental Sanity

There are many people who believe economic growth and environmental sanity to be interests opposite of one another. That does not have to be the case. The environmental problems of today are not a result of economic growth or of technology. They are a result of wrong technologies and brainless short-sighted economic practices such as burning the Amazonian rainforests and flooding the atmosphere and the oceans with CO2. And better, smarter technologies stand to add to economic growth and prosperity as much as they stand to reduce pollution and environmental destruction.

In early 20th century, the world moved from candles and horse and buggy to electricity and cars. Many people feared that this process would result in loss of jobs; but its actual result was vast prosperity all around. Transitioning toward better energy technologies is a less difficult task than was transitioning from candles and horse and buggy to electricity and cars. Most of these technologies exist already, and it is a matter of putting them into place.

There people who claim that the problem is not happening are as wrong as are the people who want to impugn technology and economic growth as such. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that, when you flood the air with CO2 while cutting down the trees that absorb CO2, you have big problems. Fortunately these problems are solvable problems. They are solved, while doing no violence to people's prosperity or economic growth, by putting better technologies into place.

This stands to carry a vast array of other benefits. Oil will last longer and will be used to produce higher-end goods, making more money in the long run to oil companies and oil workers. People who are loathe to participate in the economy for idealistic reasons will have a field in which they can work and contribute while remaining true to their ideals. Putting these better technologies into place will create many jobs and vast prosperity, even as savings will be realized over the long term by replacing less efficient technologies with better technologies. Moving toward better technologies is as good for the economy as it is for the environment, and both economic growth and environmental sanity stand to be served through this transition.

It is time to stop denying reality and instead implement real solutions. The uncontrolled carbon emissions combined with rainforest deforestation is poisoning the oceans and destroying the climate, and it has caused already a large loss of life and property all around the world. The solution is not to do away with technology or economic growth any more than it is to deny the problem. The solution is to transition to better technologies. This will benefit both the economy and the environment and result in an all-around gain in the quality of life.