A war is going on between the aspect of economic cost of environmental degradation and economic benefits of sustainable development. Even though economic development is vital to a country, we should also consider the cost of environmental degradation. With globalization opening the doors of economic development, there is a serious concern regarding environmental protection.
Our environment performs crucial functions such as supplying resources, assimilating waste, sustaining life and maintaining aesthetic value. Production and consumption in this modern era have led to environmental degradation. When the rate of extraction of resources exceeds it's rate of regeneration, the environment fails to perform its day to day activities.
This modernized world should always consider the carrying capacity of our environment. Ozone layer depletion and global warming are severe problems resulting from environmental degradation. Like Gandhi said, Men has enough for his needs, but not for his greed in our mother nature.
Therefore the emphasis increases on renewable resources or finding other sources of generating energy. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) explains sustainable development as a process that provides for the present generation without compromising on the needs of the future generations.
Sustainable development has gained momentum over the years. We now associate it with improving living standards, poverty reduction, nutritional improvements and minimizing social and cultural instability. The features of sustainable development include a sustained rise in per capita income (PCI) worldwide, rational usage of resources, pollution checks, population control and relative dependence on renewable sources of energy to meet future generations’ needs.
The planet must shift to renewable sources of energy as compared to the regular thermal or hydropower plants that lead to environmental degradation. Solar energy is an effective alternative that we can harness using photovoltaic cells. It is less costly and environmentally friendly. Setting up windmills in areas with high-speed wind can help convert the natural resource into electricity for commercial or household usage.
Another effective solution can come through the use of natural manure or bio-compost as a substitute for chemical fertilizer. Subsidized LPG as a fuel in rural areas and CNG as a fuel for vehicles in urban areas could reduce environmental degradation to a large extent. The key point between environment and development is that they should go hand in hand.