My Thoughts On Waring
Does economic prosperity equal environmental destruction? Waring seems to think so. She talks about how CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are actually counted as economic growth, not environmental degradation, and about carbon trading as an economic activity, much more like a service than an action that might impact various ecosystems. However, I think that her outlook on our relationship with nature (as humans wishing for economic prosperity) is quite dismal and I'm not so sure I completely agree with her. Granted, economic growth has taken its toll in the natural environment in the countries where it has been most apparent (Japan, USA, China, Germany, etc.), but to say that a country must be environmentally destructive in order to be economically productive is a little far-fetched. I'm thinking of Norway when I say this. Norway has fared quite well economically; while it has never been a global (or even European) economic superpower, it has certainly had one of the most stable economies, as well as highest life standards. Additionally, they have exploited very little of their natural resources when compared to other global economic powers of the same strength. Indeed, they have extracted a lot of petroleum and natural gas and have one of the largest global timber industries, but they also have vast expanses of untouched nature, a percentage of "natural purity" that countries such as the US can only dream about. Furthermore, it has refused to join the European Union mainly to perserve its current fishing laws and regulations; also, they do not need the economic safety net that the EU provides (or have not needed it thus far).
However, I do agree with Waring that there are some things that have no monetary value (and are hence not considered when making economic decisions) but are invaluable to the quality of life. Such things are clean air and water. But, recent times have seen the emerging "ownership" of natural resources that people used to deem infinite but now realize are finite like freshwater. Because of lack of freshwater availability in some parts of the world, great conflict has arisen between neighboring countries regarding rivers that flow across national borders (especially in the Middle East), and some analysts think that the wars of the 21st century might well be fought over water, not land.