Poverty could be both beneficial and detrimental to the environment, depending on the angle you look from.
In some respects, having little money may make people use every thing they have. As in war times, when food was rationed and gas was scarce, people in poverty will not refuse to eat the crust off their bread, or make unnecessary trips in their cars wasting gasoline.
However, those with money can afford more “green” luxuries. They are more likely to drive a prius than an old, polluting automobile with a broken catalytic converter. They are more likely to have solar panels installed on their homes and they may have the ability to replace appliances, light bulbs and water fixtures with more expensive but more efficient ones.
Poverty hurts the environment in that poverty is associated with high birth rates and lack of education. High birth rates increases population and urban sprawl. Strains on water resources, farmland, and wildlife are also brought out with population growth. Hope this helps!
I believe that poverty mainly hurts the environment because of the lack of education and indifference to the environment. People who are starving do not care about anything, but their own survival. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs finds that one almost always takes into account his or her own needs before considering anything else. One his or her needs are satisfied one will look to help others and therefore the environment.
Poverty overall is detrimental to the environment because of the risks people are willing to take in order to survive. An example of this is the fishing practices of local populations in places such as Indonesia, where dynamite fishing has taken a prevalence over traditional line catch fishing because it is more profitable and because the local population are so poor. The flip side is that abundance and wealth can cause environmental degradation, but once a stable level of income is reached per capita, concern for the environment can take precedence over concern for basic survival.
This is a very complex question. In impoverished countries, people resort to harmful forms of agriculture (slash and burn etc.) to survive. This contributes to higher rates of deforestation, water pollution, and soil degradation. Countries where the majority of the population lives in poverty are far more vulnerable to and dependent upon outside industrial sources for a source of income. For example, diamond, coal, gold, and silver mines as well as offshore oil rigs are very common in the Northern African region. Large companies outsource their labor to these poorer countries and severely underpay the native workers.
Third world countries that attempt to join the globalized industrial community begin their endeavors with crude, unregulated industry. Most rely on burning coal or other fossil fuels which is obviously detrimental to the environment.
On the other hand, wealthy countries, such as the U.S. are very harmful to the environment. The industrial revolution forever changed how we relate to the nature around us. We are now trying to reverse what damage has been done, but many species have gone extinct, thousands of acres of trees have been harvested, and hundreds of dams have been built for irrigation.
This question is very much a double edged sword. In my personal opinion, I believe that wealthy countries do far more damage than burgeoning third world countries.
In some ways poverty helps the environment. People without technology and a lot of money are connected closer with nature. They depend more closely on the natural world for food and resources and have a close connection with the plants and animals.
However, poverty can also harm the environment. If people cannot afford to purchase food they may have to hunt wild animals to feed their families. They may be tempted to take money to for illegal activities like collecting animals and plants for sale, cutting timber, and mining.
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