Economic Development and Environmental Protection

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  Economic Development and Environmental Protection

  Economic development and environmental protection are a pressing issue primarily for developing countries where, in trying to catch up with developed countries, they have to consume natural resources on an unprecedented scale. This has seriously polluted our environment and, with the global environmental campaign gaining momentum, many people in China call for the precedence of environmental protection over economic development.

  Any attempt to pose economic development and environmental protection as diametrically contradictory is simple-minded. Since no country is willing to stop its economic development, the best way is to strike a balance between the two and to heighten the environmental awareness of those solely concerned with economic development.

  European countries both economically developed and environmentally friendly can serve as perfect examples for China. Their success story in both undertakings illustrates that environmental protection does not mean a complete standstill of economic activities or exploitation of natural resources, but rather an active development and application of effective technologies to minimize environmental consequences. In Germany, environmental protection has become part of economic development as it boasts the world’s most successful environmental industry. With a developed economy, we are well equipped to develop sophisticated technologies that can effectively safeguard our environment.

  The relationship between economic development and environment protection is a complex one. For modern men, neither a primitive society which is perfectly ecologically friendly nor an industrial civilization which is ecologically hostile is what we want. Environmental problems arise as a result of industrialization and only technologies can deliver solutions to those problems. Rather than simply returning to the past of non-human activity, we can seek active technological solutions in solar energy and wind energy to replace fossil fuels. By the time this key contributor to environmental deterioration is eradicated, man will achieve a win-win result between economic development and environmental protection.

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