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JAN 2014 LD Topic : Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource ex

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/4/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,346 times Debate No: 44985
Debate Rounds (3)
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Rachel Carson once said "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." The main benefit of resource extraction is revenue, but prioritizing environmental protection over extraction of resources is more empowering for the citizens of a country, and often more profitable.

To best understand this debate it would be beneficial to define the following terms.

Ecotourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Political Corruption means the abuse of political power by the government leaders to extract and accumulate for private enrichment, and to use politically corrupt means to maintain their hold on power.

BRIC Nation- BRIC is a grouping acronym that refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development. These are considered to be the 4 most developed countries in the current world.

Resource Extraction is the act of using force against nature to receive valued items from the Earth.

I value future generations and a healthy ecosystem. Protecting the environment is beneficial to people in the present as well as future. A healthy ecosystem is key to the development of a nation. Resource extraction is detrimental to the health of citizens as it causes air pollution, natural disasters, and lastly, corruption in the government of a country, especially a developing one.

C1"Benefits of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is a way to preserve nature as well as make a profit.

Benefits Include:

Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate.

C2--National Parks provide an Economically Stable and Esthetically pleasing experience

In America, a developed country, Natural Parks are beneficial, so why not in a developing country?

11,700,000,000 visitors -> popularity and cultural influence, giving people a sense of self
28,000 full time employees -> Creates Jobs

49 national heritage areas-> esthetics pleasing and Culture influential

National Parks create jobs, empower local people culturally, and give citizens a central organization to rally around. These three factors are key in the development of a country. China, a BRIC country, has 225 national parks, proving that a national park system is a factor in development.

C3--Resource Extraction Causes Poverty
Countries rich in natural resources actually tend to have high and growing levels of poverty, extreme income inequalities, greater risk of conflict, and high levels of political corruption.
Too often, government revenues from resource extraction are simply not making their way into spending for basic social services such as health, nutrition and education. Worse yet, profits from extractives too often fuel terrible violence, as we have seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.

"On average, resource-rich countries have done even more poorly than countries without resources," according to Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist at the World Bank and professor of economics at Columbia University, in the United States.

C4--Violence Connected to Extraction

Violence harms people, nations and environments. Its seems as if the stress of extraction and associated environmental degradation, erupts into violence which further degrades the environment and a kind of spiraling degradation occurs. There is little incentive or will for the stakeholders to break the cycle.
...armed violence plays a critical role in facilitating natural resource extraction, without which ecological unequal exchange could not occur and much environmental degradation would not occur.

C5--Force Against Nature

"Resource Extraction is the act of using force against nature to receive valued items from the Earth."

The argument presented with this contention is; we, as humans, have a moral responsibility to protect Mother Nature. "using force" is certainly not protecting nature, but rather, the opposite.

EX-1 Deforestation
Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world"s land area, but swaths the size of Panama are lost each and every year.
The world"s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.
Logging operations also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests"which leads to further deforestation.

EX-2 Palm Oil Crisis
Indonesia is the largest exporter of palm oil, but production there comes at a huge cost. Oil-palm plantations have savagely encroached on the nation"s diverse rainforests, and slash-and-burn clearance for new plantations recently engulfed much of Southeast Asia in acrid smog. This described as code orange, code red being unbreathable. Now a report from environmental group Greenpeace blames illegal oil-palm concessions for driving the Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction.
According to maps released by Indonesia"s Minister of Forestry, 1.24 million acres of irreplaceable forest were lost from 2009 to "11, including nearly two-thirds of all Sumatran tiger habitat. Just 400 of these indigenous Asian felines are now thought to remain on the island, which sees a staggering quarter-million acres vanish for palm and pulp each year, decimating the vital tracts of rainforest that the animal depends upon for hunting. "Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan relatives," according to the World Wildlife Fund. This also has negative effects on the Sumatran Orangutan, Rhino, and Elephant.

The Sumatran tiger is classified as critically endangered by IUCN in 2008 as the population was estimated at 441.
Sumatran elephants feed on a variety of plants and deposit seeds wherever they go, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem. Their population dwindles at 2,200.
Sumatran rhinos are more closely related to the extinct woolly rhinos than any of the other rhino species alive today. There is no indication that the population is stable and just two captive females have reproduced in the last 15 years.
Of the nine existing populations of Sumatran orangutans, only seven have prospects of long-term viability, each with an estimated 250 individuals. The species' range is now restricted to North Sumatra.
Deforestation and "slash and burn agriculture has effectively devastated the populations of 4 species of animals that live nowhere else in the world.

EX-3 Gulf Oil Spill
The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people, remote underwater cameras revealed the BP pipe was leaking oil and gas on the ocean floor about 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana. By the time the well was capped on July 15, 2010 (87 days later), an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf.
Thousands of birds, sea turtles, dolphins, have been killed so far. Birds have fared the worst -- 3,902 have officially been collected dead*. These birds include the threatened brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird.
517 sea turtles, all of which are considered endangered, have been killed by the spill. Another 500 oiled turtles have been collected alive. Many of these turtles belong to a species called Kemp's Ridley, the smallest and most endangered sea turtle in the world.
71 marine mammals, mostly dolphins, have been killed over the course of the spill thus far.
This proves that resource extraction can cause a major crisis, and if it takes a top 10 developed country 87 days to stop a spill, how long would it take a developing one?

Resource extraction has a negative effect on any country that partakes in it. Developing countries must prioritize environmental protection over extraction because it can provide all of the positives of extraction as well as leave a positive impact on the citizens of a country, and future generations. I have shown the economically beneficial impacts ecotourism has on a country, the empowerment national parks gives citizens, and the negative effects resource extraction can have on a country and its government. Prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction is undoubtedly the best way for a country to develop.


At this time, I shall present my case. I shall use the subsequent rounds for rebuttals. Thanks to my opponent for instigating this round. I apologize in advance for any formatting errors due to the C/Ping from Word.

I negate.

I Value Life, defined as not only the state of being alive, but also the quality found therein. It is the primary object of any good government to ensure that its citizens are physically safe and have access to basic needs sufficient for them to pursue happiness.

The Criterion that we can look to then is Utility. Prof. Gary Woller explains why an ends-based standard is needed when referencing governmental actors: “Appeals to a priori moral principles…often fail to acknowledge that public policies inevitably entail trade-offs among competing values. Thus since policymakers cannot justify inherent value conflicts to the public in any philosophical sense…the policymakers' duty to the public interest requires them to demonstrate that…their policies are somehow to the overall advantage of society.”

Contention One: Resource extraction is key for poverty reduction.

Sub-point A: Poverty kills millions.

Prof. James Gilligan asserts, “The 14 to 18 million deaths a year caused by [poverty] compare with about 100,000 deaths per year from armed conflict. Comparing this frequency of deaths…to the frequency of those caused by major military and political violence, such as World War II [where] an estimated 49 million military and civilian deaths, including those caused by genocide--or about eight million per year, [occurred]…In other words...every single year, two to three times as many people die from poverty throughout the world as were killed” in WWII.

Sub-point B: Extraction reduces poverty.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that industries like “mining can contribute to economic development in several ways: …direct investment (DI), employment, government revenues, foreign exchange earnings, innovation and development of related sectors. Minerals’ supply is essential to modern economies and minerals exploitation represents the major part of DI flows in many developing countries, often dwarfing aid flows.” Additionally, The World Bank states, “natural resource extraction is capital-intensive, with annual global investments approaching $1 trillion, hence offering the potential for rapid infrastructure development and structural transformation in developing economies. Riches from the sector promise to be massive, with resource rents…estimated at about $4 trillion annually.” The World Bank, after a meta-analysis of more than 50 nations, concludes that “poorest and least-poor quartiles obtain about 18 percent of their income from [extraction], while middle-income groups obtain more. Across all income quartiles, dependence on resources is much lower in resource-scarce areas than in resource-rich areas.” Thus, downplaying resource extraction would deprive the impoverished with a key source of income.

Contention Two: Resource extraction reduces conflict.

Sub-point A: War is decentivized via extraction policies.

Harvard Hegre of the International Peace Institute holds that “the incentives for states to choose between the trading world and the military-political one change with economic development…development has made the trading world increasingly more attractive to states…development alters four variables that are crucial to the calculations of the leader of a state: it increases the potential gains from trade, the economic costs of war, and the political costs of war, as well as decreasing the utility of occupying territories relative to the pursuit of trade policies.” Prof. Michael Mousseau furthers, asserting, “economic development affects the costs associated with interstate violence. War waged on territory with the vast investments in plants equipment and infrastructure associated with development is apt to be costly in absolute terms, and it is likely to destroy a larger fraction of a state’s productive resources than war fought on less developed territory.”

Sub-point B: Extraction reduces ethnic cleansing.

Michael Armacost of the Brookings Institute claims, “culture wars…are markedly less lethal in prosperous societies than in poor ones. It is easier for rival cultures to share power when they are not competing over basic resources. Economic growth has dampened ethnic violence in places like Quebec and Ireland—just as economic decline has aggravated it in countries like Indonesia and Yugoslavia.” When wealth is abundant, in other words, there is less for groups to clash over, and societies are better able to coexist.

Contention Three: Resource extraction ensures people have access to basic needs like food and medicine.

Sub-point A: Extraction reduces famine.

Consider, the World Bank estimates that every 3.6 seconds someone dies from hunger, and 90% of those going hungry are in Africa, Southeast Asia, and India. According to Indur Goklany, “economic development reduces the level of undernourishment. Cross-country data show that both crop yield and per capita food supply…both increase with income. Crop yields increase because richer countries are better able to afford yield- and productivity-enhancing technologies, such as fertilizers, pesticides, better seeds, and tractors. But even if a country has poor yields or insufficient production, if it is rich it can import its food needs. Hence…the richer the country, the greater its available food supplies.”

Sub-point B: Extraction reduces disease proliferation.

Prof. Bjorn Lomborg insists, firstly “rising standards of living…afford better food, clothing and housing and consequently higher disease resistance…Second, improved public hygiene, better water supplies and sewers, hygiene education and quarantine measures…help suppress infections. Finally, better medical…provided a vast array of new technologies to combat illness.” As development has progressed, therefore, “we have consequently experienced a substantial decline in death rates and an increase in life expectancy.”

Thus, because resource extraction saves millions of lives, I negate.
Debate Round No. 1


VarsityDrake forfeited this round.


I will rebut Pro's case at this time.

Firstly, Con defines solely the BRIC nations, but if we look at the UN's lists of developing states, "developing nations" included a far more wide ranging panoply of states than Con's definitions suggest. [1]

Con's definition of Ecotourism is faulty. It assumes, erroneously, that it is responsible. Consider, I am an ecotourist on an outing in the jungle. Without thinking, I throw a wrapper from my food onto the ground and march on, never consciously realizing I did it. That's not responsible, but I'm still engaging in ecotourism. This small example can be applied on a larger scale, whereby nations intend to be responsible, but inadvertently do more harm than good.

My opponents value is very atypical, but I'll role with it. The main problem is gauging how best to promote future generations--predicting outcomes can be very hard to do. Therefore, we should prefer more immediate and less nebulous impacts coming from my own value. As no criterion was offered, you must utilize mine.

C1: Ecotourism

Firstly, Pro is running a plan. Even if it solves for Pro's value, it only addresses a fraction of the resolution. The topic is about the broad subject of "environmental protection" not the narrow one of "Ecotourism." Pro is not addressing the entirety of the resolution.

But, there are also problems with ecotourism. "The potential of ecotourism as a wildlife conservation strategy is limited by its inability to insure [sic] the long-term protection of environmental assets and by its tendency to contribute directly to environmental degradation. Ecotourism is the proxy market designed to align consumers' preferences for recreation with the protection of environmental assets. Because it does not necessarily address the direct protection of those assets, it is prone to market failure. Pressures on governments and firms involved in providing ecotourism services will impair their ability to minimize detrimental effects of human economic behavior....Ecotourism itself may contain negative externalities--costs imposed on others and ignored in the operation of market exchange....Some of the external costs include damage to the living resources ecotourism is intended to protect. In Canada, tourists...harass polar bears by approaching too closely. Whales have been harassed and even killed in Quebec and the Canary Islands. Wildlife observers drive cheetahs off Kenyan reserves, exposing the cats to danger and the risk on inbreeding...tourists' feeding of wildlife ha led to increased dependency on humans. Habitat deterioration is also a concern as land is converted to tourist facilities. Deforestation has compromised habitat for butterflies in Mexico and squirrel monkeys in Costa Rica. Campsite development has resulted in the loss of woody species in Uganda. Increased tourist traffic can result in conflicts between indigenous cultures and other local groups....government agencies charged with administering natural resources are burdened by a multiplicity of oft-conflicting goals and so may not be relied upon to focus on continued adherence to the stated principles of ecotourism. " [2]

Clearly, ecotourism is not the panacea Pro describes.

Insofar as parks are merely an extension of the ecotourist idea, cross-apply this evidence to Pro's C2. Cross-apply my case to his C3 and C4--my points directly clash here.

I also agree that R.E. conflicts with, and imposes force on, nature. The resolution even says "when they conflict." But a handful of examples don't outweigh my massive statistical and empirical impacts, and so we can vote Con on the basis of a utility analysis today. Thank you. Over to Pro...


1 -
2 - Jack Coburn Isaacs, "The Limited Potential of Ecotourism to Contribute to Wildlife Conservation" Wild Life Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2000) p. 61-69. Available on Jstor.
Debate Round No. 2


VarsityDrake forfeited this round.


Pro drops all arguments. Please VOTE CON. Thank you!
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by NiqashMotawadi3 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: BSH1 was spectacular in this one, so I'm disappointed that his opponent forfeited.