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Economic Growth in Asia Threatens Environment

Strong economic growth in Asia has lifted millions of people out of poor economic conditions. But some environmental activists say it has also hurt the area’s environment. The International Union for Conservation of Nature met in Bangkok, Thailand recently for three days. The group urged Asian countries to work together to protect the environment. It warned that, if they fail to do so, many plants and animals will become extinct.

Asia produces about 40 percent of global economic activity and two thirds of global growth. About 60 percent of the world’s population lives in Asia. Experts predict 3.3 billion people will live in Asian cities by 2050. About 1.9 billion live in the urban areas of Asia now.

Asia’s economic development has hurt its environment. Experts say more than 1,400 plants and animals in the area are critically endangered. In other words, they could soon no longer exist. About 95 per cent of Southeast Asia’s coral reefs are at risk. And, wetlands that once covered tens of thousands of kilometers of shorelines are disappearing faster in Asia than anywhere else in the world.

Zhang Xinsheng is president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. He says the planet’s ecosystems are stressed and need new efforts by governments to limit losses.

Can we (be) sustainable with this production pattern? Can we sustain with this consumption? So now it needs political will; it needs general awareness, but it needs also (a) change of values. We must review, we must reflect, we have to change the production pattern, we have to change the consumption model, we have to build inclusive societies.”

At the end of its meeting in Bangkok, the group urged governments, businesses and non-government groups to work together to help the environment.

Yeshey Dorji is the Minister for Agriculture and Forests in Bhutan. He says it will not be easy to convince people to consider the long-term effects of their actions on the planet.

“It’s mainly the people going for short-term economic gains,” he says.  “I think that is the biggest challenge for conservation, like poaching, illegal trade — this is for short-term economic gains which are actually the main driving force.”

Officials with the International Union for Conservation of Nature say 2015 is a turning point for Asia. The Asia Regional director of the IUCN, Aban Marker Kabraji, says an urgent effort is needed. He says Asian countries need to take the energy that fueled 50 years of economic growth and use it to secure the well-being of both nature and humans.

I’m Jonathan Evans.


24 Comments on "Economic Growth in Asia Threatens Environment"

  1. Makati1 on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 8:01 pm 

    Let the West take back all of the pollution producing factories it shipped to the East and then they will be saying that “Economic growth in the West Threatens Environment”. But the consumption level is falling in all of the Western countries and soon pollution will also because the factories, wells, fraking, tar sands, etc., will be shutting down along with the motoring public.

  2. Davy on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 8:16 pm 

    Mak, it probably has as much to do with the obscene population levels of Asia as the western factories moving to Asia. Sorry, good try.

  3. Rodster on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 8:49 pm 

    The East needs to take responsibility for its own actions. They are just as culpable in what’s happening on their own soil. They are trying to emulate the Western way of life. Its now gone from the banking, financial and economic system to do whatever it takes to move up the economic ladder of life.

    Like I’ve said, the East is NO different than the West.

  4. Boat on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 8:50 pm 

    Davy we can agree, along with population levels you have osha, much stricter environmental regulations, better health care, roads. Sure other countries can do it cheaper but it’s slave labor.

    Mak what about the exported finished petroleum products. We eat the pollution. We send huge amounts of food and deplete our land in the process along with the wasted fuel. What products are coming back because of the cheap nat gas? Products that require high energy use. Yes here comes more pollution. A mixed bag. Not one sided like you say.

  5. Truth Has A Liberal Bias on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 10:46 pm 

    Wow. Economic growth hurt the environment.

    File that one under ‘no shit”


  6. Boat on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 10:51 pm 

    Not always truth.
    How about California going to zero energy homes in 2020. Sustainability is the key word.

  7. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 10:59 pm 

    Apocalypse Soon: 9 Terrifying Signs of Environmental Doom and Gloom

  8. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 11:07 pm 

    zero energy homes – with a flying car in every driveway.

  9. Makati1 on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 11:21 pm 

    Apneaman, I remember that one…lol. It was popularized in the “Jetzons”

    If you look at consumption, pollution and all other really important facts as a per capita number, the US is by far the worst enemy of humanity, bar none. The sooner it goes down, the better for all of us.

  10. Apneaman on Wed, 19th Aug 2015 11:50 pm 

    That’s right Mak and many believed in it wholeheartedly and when it does not happen they just cling to the next techno promise – always forgetting the thousands of failures. It’s still going on. Miraculous medical cures are always popular. Go back to just the 1990’s and look at the barrage of claims stem cells were going to cure by now. They got my quadriplegic cousin all worked up with promises to walk again in a decade or two. Still in the chair and will die there.

  11. Davy on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 7:12 am 

    Mak, it is your Asia that is destroying the world currently. The US has done its damage but it is Asia that is the evil of humanity currently. 4BIL people are the problem and 4BIL people that are growing consumption. The US is in decline. The US is deindustrializing. The US is a has-been superpower.

  12. Rodster on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 10:50 am 

    The Chinese only have themselves to blame for this:

    “Mystery” Cyanide Foam Covers Streets In China After Tianjin Storms As “Massive Fish Die-Off” Photographed”

  13. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 1:19 pm 

    China? What about Australia? Fucking savages. In protest, I am boycotting Vegemite and Fosters Lager. Take that Tony Abbott.

    AUSTRALIA is the “little country that wants to ruin the world”, and it might just succeed thanks to Tony Abbott’s push to increase coal mining.

  14. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 2:14 pm 

    Economic Growth on Earth Threatens Environment

    July 2015 was warmest month ever recorded for the globe.

    Global oceans record warm for July; January-July 2015 also record warm

  15. Apneaman on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 2:15 pm 

    Economic Growth in America Threatens Environment

    Global warming worsened the California drought, scientists say

  16. Makati1 on Thu, 20th Aug 2015 8:53 pm 

    Today in Rice Farmer:

    Californians getting rid of their lawns
    Lice With Drug-Resistant Mutations Found to Be Widespread in US, But Experts Say Don’t Panic
    New Monsanto Spray Kills Bugs by Messing With Their Genes
    Groundwater pumping speeding subsidence in Central California: NASA
    Brain-Eating Amoeba Found In Water Supply
    Mercury and Selenium are Accumulating in the Colorado River Food Web of the Grand Canyon
    Climate Change Is Deepening California’s Drought Crisis By As Much As One-Quarter, Study Finds
    July hottest month on record, say US scientists
    Notorious Insecticides Found in Half of Sampled Streams in US
    California drought cost is 2.7 billion in 2015
    Strapped for Cash in NYC? You Can Now Sleep in a Taxi or Van for $39 a Night
    How Jeb Bush Funneled Pension Money to Lehman Before Getting a $1.3 Million a Year Consulting Job at the Firm
    The Deceptions of Hillary Clinton—–The Lies And Cover-ups Are Mushrooming
    “You’ve Got to Cozy Up”: More Politicians Admitting That Money Controls Politics
    More racial unrest in St. Louis after police kill black suspect
    Washington Governor Seeks Emergency Status After Multiple Wildfires Claim Lives Of 3 Firefighters

    Man attempts self-immolation outside Columbus, Ohio city hall
    Demanding Water Rights, Indigenous Protesters Tell McCain ‘Get Off Our Land
    Detroit neighborhood terrorized by metal thieves who are stripping vacant homes
    Police: Thieves stealing downspouts for scrap metal in East End
    Fish die off in huge numbers on Mexico coast
    50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds
    Northwest wildfires threaten dozens of communities (US)
    Western Wildfires Trigger Evacuations in California, Oregon
    The obesity epidemics: another problem we don’t know how to solve
    Natural uranium found in two major U.S. aquifers
    Get used to the idea that you will never retire

    I especially like this one: The US is selling it’s emergency supplies to pay the bills….lol.

    Congress Eyes Sales From Nation’s Oil Stockpile for Highway Funding

    America, the NON-exceptional counrtry.

  17. apneaman on Sun, 23rd Aug 2015 10:50 pm 

    Baikal on fire – ‘it feels like doomsday’

    “These unnerving images show the scale of destruction from wildfires close to Lake Baikal, the jewel of Siberia. The sky is aglow over the Republic of Buryatia from the uncontrolled burning, the latest outbreaks of fires that have been destroying forests around the world’s oldest and deepest lake for a number of weeks.

    Locals and tourists could only gaze from beaches beside the lake at the impressive but disturbing images from the flames and smoke.

    The shocking scenes came amid a warning from a senior politician that wildfires now pose the greatest threat to the lake, on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which contains 20% of the unfrozen freshwater on the planet.”

  18. apneaman on Sun, 23rd Aug 2015 10:57 pm 

    Lake Baikal fires from space

  19. apneaman on Sun, 23rd Aug 2015 11:06 pm 

    Children suffer most from effects of climate change: Drs. Aparna Bole, Kristie Ross, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

    “We are already seeing the health impacts of climate change right here in Northeast Ohio, including the children we take care of in our practices: extreme precipitation events, extreme heat, longer and more intense allergy seasons, and worsened air quality. In our region, rates of asthma in kids are substantially higher than the national average.”

  20. apneaman on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 12:04 am 

    Not all Chinese exports come in ships: Ozone pollution pushed by wind gets to Western U.S.

  21. Makati1 on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 2:30 am 

    “Economic Growth in Asia Threatens Environment”

    Lets see: The US consumes about 24% of the world’s resources according to many statistical sources.

    24% of ~7,400,000,00 people (world population today) means that they equal, on average, about 1,800,000,000 people in consumption of resources. That is about the same as China’s population and the 32 lowest population countries today.

    Who is threatening the environment?

    More bullshit propaganda from the “exceptional” country.

  22. Davy on Mon, 24th Aug 2015 6:15 am 

    Asia is what it is Makster a dangerously growing region destroying the planet. You can crow all you want about per-capita consumption in the US. I accept that. What you can’t do is diminish the US on the subject and not diminish Asia. This tactic is what you like to do across a broad spectrum of issues. Your one-sided agenda fails miserably when looking at the environmental destruction of the world by 4.3Bil people growing and consuming more. Your island of the Philippines is a great example of 100Mil people in an area the size of Arizona. Your forest and fisheries are in decline and localized failure. The poor are getting poorer. This article is about Asia and rightly so

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