All too often we are presented with a false choice between the economy and the environment. This situation seems to occur because economics is primarily concerned with the short term, and measures designed to protect the environment are seen to immediately hinder economic growth (another falsehood according to Paul Hawken). The problem is that sooner or later, damaging the environment to a great enough degree will disrupt economies in many ways. Eventually, the economic disadvantage will be far greater than if action had simply been taken in the first place. As this article shows, certain economies are now starting to feel the economic effects of environmental degradation.
The most important issue raised here, I feel, is the seeming inability of our political institutions to deliver the strong environmental protection we so desperately need, in the face of opposition by a small number of powerful lobbyists.