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HomeYourTurnSubscriberWrites: There is a vicious link between economic growth, consumption and environment

SubscriberWrites: There is a vicious link between economic growth, consumption and environment

We have to reduce consumption and deal with discomfort for better environment and health, writes Sharang Goyal.

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With the temperature rising in month of February to a 122 year high, it is alarming but also its feel repetitive and feel we have no solution. With young generation more worried about income and their materialistic needs the environment has taken a back seat on ground and talked only at conferences. I know we can blame the west for enjoying all the fruits of industrialization and now telling east to control our needs and wants but, do we have any other solution?

If we consume less or emit less Greenhouse Gas will it not help us? I know industry or economic activity is important for the common man to earn its living but I feel Big Industry have created a vicious link between Consumption and Employment. If the industry is told to reduce some consumption/sales or take measures to control the effluent, they always take high moral ground of loss in jobs. Even in the very old Kanpur Tanneries case when industry was asked to stop polluting river Ganga, the industry said this will hurt the employment as cost of production will rise. Also in famous Bangladesh garment industry the labour is paid pittance for the high end garment we wear but we all admire the Bangladesh growth story.

The ways to reduce consumption is as follows:

  1. Increasing the price of goods- More wages to our labour and More stringent environmental norms would result in Increase in the prices of goods. This increase in the prices of goods is good way to control consumption. If the cost of production is increased industry will scare that this will hamper the economy but it’s just to play high moral ground.

Too much Inequality is not good for environment, cheap labour is inhuman. I know bigger profits encourages entrepreneurship but there has to be limit where they can cut cost in terms of wages and environment norms. 

  1. Reducing population- I know Indian population growth is on the decline but we have to reduce it further for some time to reduce the impact of increasing consumption and this will also reduce availability of cheap labour.
  2. Awareness about simplicity- The reward of our hard work is that we attain the best comforts mankind has invented and indulge in materialism but this has gone to extreme levels now and we have to control it. We are already talking of ill of effects of over consumption of cheap mobile data on our youth and everyone is asking to limit mobile usage, same way we have limit our materialism and over comforting ourselves. For eg we are still not ready to carry Cloth bag while shopping to reduce the consumption of plastic bag just because plastic is convenient. 

Somehow the entire ecosystem has based our happiness on the way and how much we consume. There is constant pressure and peer competition to consume better. We Indians are not that week and we can handle extreme heat and cold with being too much dependent on machines. We have to start discomforting ourselves a bit more for better environment and health.  Somewhat simplicity can give us that mental peace we all our looking for. 

These pieces are being published as they have been received – they have not been edited/fact-checked by ThePrint.

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