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The Contender
Con (against)
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Developing Countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 678 times Debate No: 46700
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Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It"s not."- Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Definitions courtesy of
Developing Countries: any country that wants to advance economically and socially
Prioritize: to organize things so that the most important thing is dealt with first
Should: used in auxiliary function to express obligation or priority
Environmental Protection: refers to any activity to maintain or restore the quality of environmental media through preventing the emission of pollutants or reducing the presence of polluting substances in environmental media.
Resource Extraction: any action which removes or separates resources from the places in which they exist
Environment: the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates
Resources: materials or substances such as minerals, forests, and fertile land that occur in nature and can be used for economic gain.
Resolutional Analysis
Observation 1: When we look at this resolution, we must look at the wording of the resolution, and a few of the word choices. Take for example, the word prioritize. The resolution is asking us to hold one thing above another to choose what is best, environmental protection or resource extraction.
Observation 2: Because this is Lincoln-Douglas debate and is based off of morality, we have to find out not only what is moral for us, but what is moral for the environment also. When we find what is moral for the environment, we also unlock what is moral to ourselves too.
Observation 3: Because of the fact that no country can ever be perfect, or fully developed, we have to include countries that some people consider fully developed, like China, Brazil, and the United States. Any country that wants to advance socially or economically should not be ignored in this debate, because every country will want to further themselves.
Framework: Because we are weighing two things against each other, we must see what the benefits of either side are. In order for the negative side to win, they must show that the benefits of resource extraction outweigh those of the benefits of environmental protection. The negative side cannot show equality between the two because they differ so much from each other, so it is impossible for the two systems to coexist. The affirmative side must show that environmental protection has more benefits than that of the benefits of resource extraction.
My value for this round will be life, which is the quality of being. My criterion for this round will be environmentalism, which is the mindset of wanting to protect the environment. If we don"t protect the environment, then we don"t live. We die.
Contention 1: Harming Nature Reserves
Big oil corporations and builders are officially allowed to build and drill for oil on nature reserves, which harms one of our only "protected" areas of land.
Sub-Point A: Building on Nature Reserves
According to the Telegraph, builders are allowed to bulldoze and then build on nature reserves, despite the fact that these are supposed to be protected areas. When they do build, they are supposed to offset the damage elsewhere, which means that they also have to build somewhere else, which means that we are effectively destroying the environment every second that we build on these places.
Sub-Point B: Drilling for Oil
According to, oil companies are drilling for oil in national parks, which destroys landmarks and endangers animals. Take for example, a national park in Florida, where there is a species of endangered Florida panther that is harmed by drilling for oil. There"s a national park in New Mexico that is home to a 900-year-old Ancestral Great Pueblo House. Glen Canyon, another national park, is next on the list for future drilling sites. While only 12 out of the 397 United States National Parks are being drilled in, there are plans to continue drilling in other national parks, to the point where the damage would be so widespread, you"d be lucky to find a national park left.
Contention 2: African Resources
While some sources say that extracting resources is beneficial to Africa, the World Bank has admitted that resource extraction is bleeding Africa dry. So-called economic growth in Africa is effectively destroying the environment and not benefitting the people of Africa at all. This "growth" is highly dependent on relatively few commodities sold for export, including oil, metal, and minerals. Countries like Angola and Nigeria depended on oil for up to 97% of all exports. When we deplete a country of resources like this, we kill the environment, and in most cases, don"t benefit the people at all, which is a loss for both sides.
Contention 3: Decline of Prosper
Sub-Point A: African Nations
Four African countries have an opportunity to make some profit off of natural resources, the countries being Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique. But they"re better off not harvesting these resources, mostly because almost every country that goes to harvest natural resources grows more slowly with greater inequality-which is the exact opposite of what someone would expect. Some of the curses that come along with natural resources are:
"Resource rich countries tend to have strong currencies, which impedes other exports.
"Because resource extraction often entails little job creation, unemployment rates rise.
"Volatile resource prices cause growth to be unstable
We can see that there are downfalls that all slow or even stop country growth completely. A good example of not harvesting resources and growing is South Korea. South Korea had a comparative advantage in growing rice. Had it stuck to that strength, it would not be the industrial giant that it is today. They sure would be the most efficient rice growers in the world, but would still be stuck in poverty- The Guardian
As we can see, letting go of the things that we think might promote progress, really just impede growth and don"t let us expand our horizons to other options.
Contention 4: Israel
Sub-point A: Health and Social Benefits
Health Benefits: These can also be interpreted as social benefits, but given the strategic importance to health of the enhanced environmental protection, they are assessed as a separate category. Direct benefits to public health include for example: a reduction in the cases of illness and the avoidance of premature mortality arising from water-borne diseases, and a reduction in respiratory and cardio-pulmonary diseases and premature mortality associated with poor air quality.
Social Benefits: Benefits to individuals and society at large, including for example: the safeguarding of, and access to, the natural and cultural heritage (avoided pollution damage to historic buildings or the destruction of historic landscapes), recreational opportunities (e.g., fishing and bathing), benefits of trust in quality environmental service provision (e.g., water quality), social cohesion due to support for employment, social learning and the development of civil society (due to increased information provision, consultation and involvement).
Sub-Point B: Environmental and Economic Benefits
Environmental Benefits: Are the positive impacts on the natural environment of meeting environmental targets. For example, if the target of secondary treatment of all urban waste water would be reached, this would result in environmental benefits, such as improved surface water quality and avoidance of eutrophication, which is the excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water, frequently due to runoff from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life and death of animal life from lack of oxygen.
Economic Benefits: Benefits include for example: economic benefits from natural resources (e.g. tourism benefits relating to protected areas, landscape, beaches, coral reefs), eco-efficiency gains (e.g. improved fish provision from enhanced ecosystems that support fisheries directly and indirectly), avoided costs (e.g. avoided costs of hospitalization and lost days at work from health impacts; avoided climate change impacts), the development of new and existing industries/sectors of the economy (e.g. renewable energy), balance of payments and trade effects (e.g. reduced imports of primary material as more waste is reused and recycled), increased employment through environmental investments (e.g., potential from developing the waste collection sector, from growth in eco-tourism).
In conclusion, we can see that growth still occurs even when resource extraction doesn"t happen. By my definition of resources, we can see that food and water are not classified as resources, and therefore don"t count as a part of resource extraction. Thus, when looking at resource extraction and calling it a necessity isn"t true. Protecting the environment isn"t what everything thinks, we still make progress while protecting the environment. Vote Affirmative.


Overview: The entire thesis that the affirmative case relies on is having some objective moral theory or principle that justifies prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction. Without this, there is no way we can call something morally permissible or obligatory, thus negating the resolution. The problem with this is that morality is never objective because morality is constantly changing. If I prove that morality is subjective, then the ballot is an easy vote for the negative because we cannot call something morally permissible or obligatory. Joyce[1]:

“If moral [skepticism] … is true, then nothing is moral obligatory, nothing is morally prohibited, and nothing is morally permissible either. … one who claims that moral nihilism implies that everything is permissible must intend to denote some kind of permissibility other than moral—let’s just call it X-permissibility. But then an argument will be needed to show that the failure of moral discourse implies that everything is X-permissible, and … [there is no] such argument.”

To negate is to deny the truth of, so the sufficient affirmative burden is to prove that we are morally obligated to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction. While there are different ways to reach that conclusion, such as by using impact turns or defense, the end result is an affirmation of the resolutional statement. If the aff can’t prove that we ought to prioritize environmental protection, you negate. My thesis is that we are never morally obligated. If I show we’re never morally obligated then you negate the resolution before you even look to the value criterion debate. As such the negative case comes before the rest of the AC because it functions as a gateway to affirming.

Morality is subjective and everyone has their own specific morality that they adhere to. With so many different forms of morality, it is impossible to come to an agreement on which version of morality is the best to use in the given situation. Furthermore, morality can change over time, therefore making the choice of which morality is best even more impossible to come to. Koons[2]:

“if moral truth were determined by the generation of some affective response, then this would lead to objectionable sorts of moral relativism. … our psychology is … not … shared by all rational creatures, or even by all humans. … Imagine, … the possible worlds in which we experience moral emotions or desires under different conditions than in the actual world. Are there possible worlds in which, say, kicking dogs is morally required? … Or imagine an alien race whose psychology differed from our own. This race might have an affective nature very different from ours. … wouldn’t their morality by true-for-them, and ours true-for-us? Or perhaps we would decide that since this alien race’s morality … were so different from ours, that they weren’t practicing morality in the first place, but instead schmorality. … Not all people have the same psychological responses; is morality different for these different people? … does this mean that moral truth is itself relative and changeable?”

Therefore, if morality is relative and changeable, it is impossible to come to a morality that works so that we can even call something morally obligatory. This makes the resolution false because without morality, we cannot call something morally obligatory. Furthermore, even the definitions of good and bad are subjective and subject to change. One person might see something as good, while another person might see that same thing as horribly bad. Without these two basic definitions, it is impossible to be able to form any type of morality. Nietzsche[3]:

“my curiosity and my suspicion felt themselves … bound … at the question, of what in point of actual fact was the origin of our “Good” and of our “Evil.” … at the boyish age of thirteen … I gave quite properly the honour to God, and made him the father of Evil. … Under what conditions did Man invent for himself those judgments of values, “Good” and “Evil”? And what intrinsic value do they possess in themselves? Have they up to the present hindered or advanced human well-being? Are they a symptom of the distress, impoverishment, and degeneration of Human Life? Or, conversely, is it in them that is manifested the fullness, the strength, and the will of Life, its courage, its self-confidence, its future?”

Thus, the definitions of good and bad are themselves indefinite and changeable based upon an individual’s perspective. This links into the debate because without these two definitions, forming a concept of morality becomes impossible. Moreover, even if we know what morality is there is no way we could know if those moral principles are something we would accept. Nietzsche 2:

“the real homestead of the concept “good” did not originate among those to whom goodness was shown. Much rather has it been the good themselves, that is, the aristocratic, the powerful, the high-stationed, the high-minded, who have felt that they themselves were good, and that their actions were good, that is to say of the first order, in contradistinction of all the low, the low-minded, the vulgar, and the plebeian. … a higher dominant race coming into association with a meaner race, an “under race,” … is the origin of … good and bad.”

Thus, even if the definitions of good and bad are finite and definite, they themselves are not true and cannot work in any moral theory.

Now, go to the AC. Start off of their resolutional analysis:

First: by my opponent's own definiton of prioritize it means that we just do one thing first. The problem here is that it doesn't preclude us from doing the other one later after we finish doing the first one. This means that even if we negate, we can come back later and do all of the affirmative things, making his impacts non-unique.

Also, don't let him extend off the analysis he makes in his framework saying that we can't have the two co-existing. I'm not saying that they would co-exist, rather that we can just do one and then come back and do the other one later, meaning that I can still get the same pro-environment impacts as Pro would in the long run.

Second: My opponent claims that LD is about morals but has no moral framework to evaluate morality. Thus, by his own argument, he is failing to figure out what's moral for the environment, making it impossible to affirm by his own framework. This means you instantly default to voting negative.

Third: Even if my opponent advocates for a moral theory in later rounds, he still has to sufficiently refute the NC before he gains access to the offense coming off of the AC. If morality is subjective, then it becomes impossible for him to fulfill his framework fo finding out what's moral for us and for the environment. This means that so long as I'm winning off of the NC, I'm winning the debate.

Next, go to his contentions. You can group all of them together since they're all essentially just talking about how good environmental protection is and how bad resource extraction is:

First: All of this is non-unique. I can get the same results in the long run negating. This means that neither of us are getting any kind of unique offense off of his contentional level, but since that's his only offense there isn't anything that he can extend off that I can't get access to either, meaning there isn't a place you can vote pro.

Second: There's no actual warrant behind any of the impacts coming off of his contentions. Literally all of the impact analysis he makes in his contentions are just emotional appeals, but there's no actual warrant for why resource extraction is killing us or causing any of the harms he's listing out in his contentions, as well as how environmental protection is leading to the benefits he's listing or solving any of the supposed problems. This means that even if he had unique access to his contentions, that you wouldn't vote off of them anyway because the warrants are so bad.

So the round breaks down really easily. The NC comes first because it precludes the AC from fulfilling their framework. If he doesn't sufficiently refute the NC, you instantly negate there. But even if he's sufficiently refuting the NC, he doesn't have any kind of unique offense coming off of the AC, meaning you default neg anyway. Moreover, he isn't advocating for any kind of moral theory, which by his own resolutional analysis precludes him from fulfilling his framework.

[1] Richard. “Nihilism,” International Encyclopedia of Ethics, forthcoming. Accessed online.

[2]Koons, Jeremy R. "Why Response Dependance Theories Are Morally False." Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6.3 (2003). JSTOR. Web.

[3]Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Beyond Good and Evil." Web.

Debate Round No. 1


zachdebate727 forfeited this round.


Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 2


Too busy to pay attention, vote for the other guy


That's disappointing.
Debate Round No. 3


zachdebate727 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession.