Geography Nature and Economic Growth

Always on the slim margin between subsistence and disaster, less privileged countries suffer disproportionately from natural and human assisted catastrophes. Climate and topography coupled with civil wars, poor environmental policies and natural disasters push these countries further into economic stagnation. Without irrigation and water management, droughts, floods and soil erosion afflict them, often leading to creeping deserts that reduce the long term fertility of the land. Population increases, deforestation and overgrazing intensify the impact of drought lead to malnutrition and ill health, further undermining these countries abilities to solve their problems. Cyclones cannot be prevented nor can inadequate rainfall but means to control their effects are available. Unfortunately, each disaster seems to push developing countries further away from effective solutions. Countries that suffer the most from major calamities are among the poorest in the world. Many have neither the capital nor the technical ability to minimize the effects of natural phenomenal; they are at the mercy of nature.

As countries prosper natural barriers are overcome. Tunnels and canals are dug and bridges and dams are built in an effort to control or to adapt to climate, topography, and the recurring and the recurring extremes of nature. Humankind has been reasonably successful in over coming or minimizing effects of geographical barriers and natural disasters but as they do so, they must contend with problems of their own making. The construction of dams is a good example of how an attempt to harness nature for good has a bad side. Developing countries consider dams a cost effective solution to a host of problems. Dams create electricity help control foods provide water for irrigation during dry periods and can be a rich source of fish. However, there are side effects; dams displace people (the Three gorges dam in China will displace 1.2 million people) and silt that ultimately clogs the reservoir is no longer carried downstream to replenish the soil and add nutrients. Similarly, the Narmada valley Dam Project in India will provide electricity, flood control and irrigation, but it has already displaced tens of thousands of people and as the benefits are measured against social and environment costs, questions of its efficacy are being raised. In short he need for gigantic projects such as these must be measured against their social environmental costs.

As the global rush toward industrialization an economic growth accelerates environmental issues become more apparent. Disruption of ecosystems, relocation of people, inadequate hazardous waste management and industrial pollution are problems that must be addressed by the industrialized world and those seeking economic development. The problems are mostly by products of processes that have contributed significantly to economic development and improved lifestyles. During the last part of the 20th century governments and industry expended considerable effort to develop better ways to control nature and to allow industry to grow while protecting the environment.

Social Responsibility and Environmental nations, companies and people reached a consensus during the close of the last decade: Environmental protection is not an optional extra – it is an essential part of the complex process of doing business. Many view the problem as a global issue rather than a national issue and as one that poses common threats to humankind and thus cannot be addressed by nations in isolation. Of social concern to governments and business are ways to stem the tide of pollution and to clean up decades of neglect.

Companies looking to build manufacturing plants in countries with more liberal pollution regulations than they have at home are finding that regulations everywhere have gotten stricter. Many governments are drafting new regulations and enforcing existing ones. Electronics products contain numerous toxic substances that create a major disposal problem in landfills where inadequate disposal allows toxins to seep into groundwater, the EU, as well as other countries, ahs laws stipulating the amount and types of potentially toxic substances it will require a company to take back to recycle. A strong motivator is the realization that pollution is on the verge of getting completely out of control.