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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: 4/3/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 741 times Debate No: 51601
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This is the January-Febuary topic for Lincoln Douglass debate. This debate will be done in Lincoln Douglass format.

Round 1: Affirmative Constructive (case) Negative Constructive (case and attacks aff case)
Round 2: Affirmative Rebuttal 1 (attacks neg case, rebuilds own case) Negative Rebuttal (further attacks aff case, rebuilds own case, voting issues)
Round 3: Affirmative Rebuttal 2 (addresses opponent's voting issues, presents their own) Negative (states "the end" and nothing more)

NOTE: If my opponent would prefer, they can attack my voting issues and present their own in round three to make it more fair since this is a written debate and speech times don't really apply. If you accept, just let me know in the comments what you want to do.


A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” It is because I agree with Franklin D. Roosevelt that I am compelled to affirm today’s resolution which states Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

For clarification of today’s round I offer the following definitions:

Developing Country- a poor agricultural country that is seeking to become more advanced economically and socially (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Developing Country- countries with a GNI of US $11,905 and less are defined as developing (World Bank 2012)
Two definitions are used to describe what empirically is a developing country, as well as what a developing country is seeking to do or become.

Should- used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Prioritize- to organize (things) so the most important thing is done or dealt with first (Merriam Webster)

Environmental Protection- environmental guardianship based on policies and procedures (Black’s Law Dictionary)
Objectives are:
1. the conserving of natural resources
2. the preserving of the existing natural environment
3. where possible, repairing damage and reversing trends

Resource- a country’s collective means of supporting itself of becoming wealthier, as represented by its reserves of minerals, land, and other assets (New Oxford American Dictionary)
Extraction- the action of taking out something esp. using effort of force (New Oxford American Dictionary)

Conflict- a difference that prevents agreement (Merriam Webster)

The highest value within today’s round is Quality of Life. Quality of life is defined as the conditions which contribute to elevating life beyond a needs-only existence. Quality of life is most important in today’s round because it is important to make lives more than a struggle for survival and that can only happen when we prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict.

The criterion that best supports my value is cost-benefit analysis. Cost-benefit analysis is defined as a criteria which asks us to weigh the worth of some action through the advantages and disadvantages it incurs. This criterion achieves my value premise because while environmental protection costs money, it provides citizens of developing countries with a higher quality of life.

I offer the following contentions to support my value and criterion.

Contention 1: Developing countries need to focus on ensuring environmental stability which can only be achieved when environmental protection is prioritized over resource extraction.

The Millennium Development Goals are a set of goals that United Nations will strive to achieve by 2015. The seventh goal is to ensure environmental stability. According to OECD, 800,000 lives are lost every year due to environmental causes. (1) Unclean water contributes towards 3.1% of all deaths worldwide, 99% of these deaths take place in developing countries. (2) Resource extraction contributes to unclean water because of the toxic chemicals released from mining, notes Wolfgang Sachs, when discussing the extraction of raw minerals. (3) The FAO Corporate Document Repository says that the over fertilization of plants can render water in poor countries unusable. (4) Water on the Web discusses erosion as another factor that contributes to water pollution. (5) Erosion is often caused by deforestation. 1 billion people world-wide, rely on forest-based assets in order to live. (6) 15 out of the 24 essential services we get from ecosystems are currently being eroded. These services include food production, water quality, and availability to disease management. (7) The impact of this is that if we continue to destroy the environment in developing countries by not prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction, these problems will increase and the country will be unable to ensure environmental stability. Achieving environmental stability has had many benefits for developing countries, as shown in the case of Albania. In 2005, Albania began to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction due to all the damages done by excessive deforestation. According to the Global Environment Facility, when Albania prioritized environmental protection, within three years (by 2008), a large governmental staff in charge of forest extension was developed, natural forest habitats and scrub forest coverage were improved and increased, and 400,000 tons of erosion had been reduced, enabling citizens to farm. (8) The country also began to work on stricter law enforcement. The final impact is that other developing countries suffering from the effects of deforestation or other environmental problems must follow Albania’s example in order to achieve a higher quality of life; when a developing country’s money is invested in environmental protection, we can see there are numerous benefits for the citizens.

Contention 2: When developing countries strive to ensure environmental stability, economic development occurs.

Point A: Only when environmental protection is prioritized, can economic development occur.
Environmental protection is not commonly paired with economic development, but in the long run, the way to achieve development is to prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction in cases where the two come into conflict. According to the International Journal for Rural Development, 4-12% of Africa’s GDP is lost due to environmental degradation. (9) OECD states that environmental wealth counts for 25% of the total wealth within low-income countries. If developing countries prioritize environmental protection they will increase their environmental wealth and obtain a higher GDP. (10) This wealth will contribute to giving the citizens a higher quality of life, showing that the money spent on environmental protection is going to achieve development in the end.

Point B: Extracting resources when they are in conflict with environmental protection hinders economic growth.
The resource curse takes place when countries begin to extract a large amount of nonrenewable resources. The resource curse, defined by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics from Ohio State University, says the natural resource curse refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. (11) Developing countries with low amounts of economic growth are often the ones with an abundance of natural resources. In addition to this, an article from The Atlantic emphasizes that the money provided from resource extraction goes only to the elite of society, and poverty is in no way being decreased. (12) A study from MIT tech notes that in developing countries, corruption is much more prevalent, thus the resource curse and misuse of money from resources is a very large of problem. (13) The impact is that factors such as corruption and the resource curse show that extracting resources when they are in conflict with environmental protection in developing countries will slow down development significantly, thus lowering the quality of life for citizens and providing very little benefit, compared to their great cost.


While it is ideal to urge developing countries to put environmental protection over resource extraction, it will be highly unrealistic and implausible for them to do so. Remember, the center goal of every developing country is to become developed. To become more developed means one would have to access better technology, decrease poverty rates, increase economic growth...and everything stated in the Millennium Goal. Unfortunately, in order to achieve that, resource extraction which will feed into a stronger economy is required for many countries. In many poorer nations who have not developed the skilled labor force to be competitive in a global market, resource extraction is the only way to go. Many members of the Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries would not be able to survive without exporting their resources.
Currently developed countries have all taken the same route. There has not been strong precedents of any country becoming a developed nation without having done so.
Rebuttal to Contention 1:
The con side of the debate would like to respond to points raise in contention 1 by stating once again, goals in the Millennium Goal cannot be met without a sound, supportive economy. How can infant mortality go down if the family is struggling to feed themselves? How can universal education be achieved if the children are impoverished and need to work for their families? People don't like to hear the realist perspective, but in many countries, they simply couldn't afford to put environment over economy. That would be goals for developed countries with resource to spare.
While Albania is a notable example of how environmental planning can save the environment, my opponent fails to acknowledge Albania being one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. Thus, since the quality of life is at debate here, the con side would argue that it is more important to put the economy before the environment.
Rebuttal to Contention 2:
My opponent has failed to acknowledge the effect limiting resource extraction will have on the country's economy, and needless to say, their GDP. I will cite OPEC again in this case. The country's GDP will drop dramatically if its oil production becomes more limited. How can that ensure a better quality of life when jobs are lost and the country's currency value drop ?
Although my opponent has cited resources that say countries with more resources have less economic growth and worse outcomes, I do not believe the extraction of resources is the problem here. The problem here is the dependence on resources and the lack of skilled labor. However, that is not related to the topic we are debating today. The same goes with corruption. Thus, neither corruption nor your first point proved anything. They have more to do with government efficiency and doesn't make a case as to why environmental protection would be better than resource extraction. Furthermore, even if my opponent's point holds, a corrupted government will not do any better at environmental planning.

In conclusion, environmental protection is not a practical means for developing countries to pursue. If the goal is to pursue high standards of living, the first step is to boost the economy. For many, they have no way to achieve that other than through resource extraction. Government regulation, if anything, will hinder such growth.
While it is true the resource extraction can have unpleasant effects, but in countries such as Libya where the poverty rate is 33.33%, one has to consider his/her priorities. Is it more important to lift 1/3 of the country out of poverty, help them get an education, create a skilled workforce so they won't be dependent on their natural resources anymore? Or is it more important to preserve the environment but allow the 33.33% to stay poor and have a low standards of living on the long run?
Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3
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