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Economy vs the Environment: Can we achieve balance between the two?
In an ideal world, we'd like to believe that economic growth and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand. However, there is a political theory that the two are mutually exclusive, and a country is only able to have one but not the other. Though there is argument against the validity of this statement, the limited amount of resources undoubtedly makes it harder for developing countries to stay green in comparison to its well developed neighbors. The question thus becomes, how can a developing country like ours, who is still struggling economically, possibly focus on environmental issues? The key is environmental policy. I personally believe that with our abundance of natural resources, Indonesia able to coexist with nature in harmony, as long as we do not exploit the resources that is given to us. The problem is, without strict laws and regulations, nobody is willing to give up the source of their livelihood for the sake of the environment.
An easy example we can take is palm oil in Indonesia. We are the world's top palm oil producer, and hectares of land continue to be used for palm oil plantation. In 2018, there used to be a law that limits the amount of deforestation to create land for palm oil, but since that ended last September, there has been no effort to continue the moratorium. What's worse is that the media barely highlights this, despite our astonishing improvements throughout the year, in which the Environmental Ministry claimed that last year, Indonesia's deforestation rate dropped by 75%.It is understandable that Indonesia as a developing country favors economic growth. But we fail to realize that our abundance in biodiversity is what makes us such a great country in the first place. At the end of the day, it all goes down to who makes the laws and for what interest. Clearly, since we are a top exporter of palm oil, the commodity becomes a great deal of income for our country and thus policy makers are more hesitant to put a stop to it, despite its repercussions. With the introduction of better sustainable policies, it is possible to create a world where we are able to grow economically, yet still conserve biodiversity.