The poor have often been blamed for environmental degradation, as being poor has caused them to destroy the environment. However, this study concludes that poverty is not the sufficient condition of the environmental degradation. It is only the necessary condition. The sufficient condition is the existence of a third party (big companies) that destroys the environment. The poor join the big companies because they see an opportunity to sustain their livelihood or even increase their income.
We recommend three policies to be implemented simultaneously, in addition to the full enforcement of the laws against environmental degradation. First is to create alternative employment opportunities for the local people so that they do not depend on activities which are harmful to their own environment. However, the people, including those from outside their area, may continue contributing to the environmental degradation. The people may not be able to resist joining the big companies in the environmentally harmful activities as long as their own income will rise. We cannot expect them to have a long vision.
Therefore, we need the second policy, that is to create employment opportunities which heavily depend on the bio-diversity of the environment. By doing so, it is for the interest of the local people to protect and enhance their environment. They will protest and resist companies and developmental projects which destroy their environment.
However, such a policy may not work well if those multi-national companies offer incentives and other forms of compensation (“bribery”) to the local people. Thus, we need the third policy, that is to enlist all goods produced by companies which destroy the environment. The list of the goods is then published and disseminated to all over the world, through credible sources such as international websites. The consumers have the right to know whether the goods and services they consume are harmful to the environment and/or are produced using environmentally harmful activities. The strong campaign to increase the consumers’ awareness will greatly reduce the demand for such products and consequently reduce profit of the companies. The decline in the profit will reduce the companies’ motivation to destroy the environment.
Read the full paper in ImpactofEnvironmentalDegradationonPoverty