The Instigator
bsh1
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Lordgrae
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Liberals' DDO Tournament R1: Poverty and the Enviroment

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
bsh1
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/9/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 964 times Debate No: 40246
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
Votes (3)

 

bsh1

Pro

This is a Round One debate in the Liberals' DDO Tournament between myself and Lordgrae. Rules and information are below.

Topic: When in conflict, the United Nations should prioritize global poverty reduction over environmental protection.

Rules:

1. Round One is just for acceptance
2. Round Five cannot be used to make new arguments
3. Both contestants may offer their own definitions and/or counterdefinitions for the resolution

Thanks to Lordgrae in advance! I look forward to a great round!
Lordgrae

Con

I accept.

I shall be taking con for this debate. My position will be that the topic "When in conflict, the United Nations should prioritize global poverty reduction over environmental protection." is incorrect, and the UN should prioritize environmental protection.

I accept your rules, and I have no definitions to add at this time.

Good luck to my opponent, I know he is an experienced debater.
Debate Round No. 1
bsh1

Pro

Thanks to Lordgrae for accepting. I will use this round to clarify the framework and to present my own case.

FRAMEWORK

Should - indicates propriety and desirability. For example, if I say "I should not slurp my soup" I am saying that it isn't proper and/or desirable for me to slur soup.

Global Poverty - World Bank has established a global poverty line of 1.25 USD per day [1, 2], and I will use this as my definition for "poverty."

Environment - "the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival." [3]

When in Conflict - this phrase implies that we are evaluating which two policies (global poverty reduction or environmental protection) should be prioritized only when they are in conflict. Therefore, it is not my burden to show that the UN should defund all environmental protections everywhere in order to focus on global poverty reduction. Rather, my burden is to show that where poverty reduction efforts and environmental protection efforts conflict, poverty reduction should be prioritized/

Now that the resolutional framework has been addressed, I will move on to constructing my core case. I will do so in two parts. First, I will establish that poverty is a very pressing concerns that demands redress; second, I shall illustrate how the environment is not such an immediate and enormous concern, extrapolation that poverty reduction should take priority over environmental protection.

PRO's CASE

Overview: It is important to understand, before I get into the meat of my arguments, that poverty is a wide-spread problem. While for Westerners like myself it can be hard to fathom the notion that literally billions of people can live on such a pittance, it is true. Between 1 and 1.44 billion people are considered impoverished. [4, 5, 6] Moreover, in 2008 alone, the number of those in poverty alarmingly grew by 100 million people. [7]

I. Poverty is an enormous problem.

Sub-point A: Poverty kills more than armed conflict.

"The fact that poor people around the world have shorter and harder lives is the result of human design. This phenomenon is called "structural violence."...18 million people died as the result of structural violence in 1965, more than all of World War II"s battlefield casualties and 150 times more than in all of 1965s armed conflicts"Poverty kills and it does so relentlessly, invisibly, and in far greater numbers than the armed conflicts that understandably command our attention." [8] "The 14 to 18 million deaths a year caused by structural violence compare with about 100,000 deaths per year from armed conflict. Comparing this frequency of deaths from structural violence to the frequency of those caused by major military and political violence, such as World War II (an estimated 49 million military and civilian deaths, including those caused by genocide--or about eight million per year, 1935-1945), the Indonesian massacre of 1965-1966 (perhaps 575,000 deaths), the Vietnam war (possibly two million, 1954-1973)...it was clear that even war cannot begin to compare with structural violence, which continues year after year. In other word...every single year, two to three times as many people die from poverty throughout the world as were killed by the Nazi genocide of the Jews over a six year period. This is, in effect, the equivalent of an ongoing, unending, in fact accelerating, thermonuclear war, or genocide, perpetrated on the weak and poor every year of every decade, throughout the world." [9]

Sub-point B: Poverty increases the likelihood of violent conflict and death.

"Poverty increases the risks of conflict through multiple paths. Poor countries are more likely to have weak governments, making it easier for would-be rebels to grab land and vital resources. Resource scarcity can provoke population migrations that result in conflicts between social groups, as in Darfur...Without productive alternatives, young people may turn to violence for material gain...Poor farmers who lack basic infrastructure and access to agricultural markets may turn in desperation to narcotics production and trade, such as growing poppy in Afghanistan or coca in the Andes. Many slums are controlled by gangs of drug traffickers and traders, who create vicious circles of insecurity and poverty. The lack of economically viable options other than criminal activity creates the seedbed of instability and increases the potential for violence. While violent conflicts surely result from a combination of factors, research suggests a strong causal impact of poverty and adverse income shocks on the onset of conflict. The risk of civil conflict declines steadily as national incomes increase. Negative economic growth shocks increase the risk of civil conflict dramatically." [10]

Sub-point C: Poverty leads to illness and death.

"Poverty is a major predictor of overall poor health status. Today, as many as one-fifth of the world"s citizens (about 1.3 billion people) lack access to safe drinking water, and about one-third lack access to proper sanitation. The absence of these basic needs alone causes millions of preventable deaths worldwide each year. Malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS kill over six million people annually, the majority of whom live in developing areas, where funds and health care systems are often inadequate. These diseases also add to population vulnerability and diminish local productivity." [11]

Sub-point D: Poverty has negative psychological impacts.

"Vulnerability comes because poor people are defenseless against damaging loss. Together these generate worry and fear: of natural disaster, of violence and theft, of loss of livelihood, of dispossession from land or shelter, of persecution by the police and powers that be, of debt, of sickness, of social ostracism, of the suffering and death of loved ones, of hunger and of destitution in old age...The stigma of poverty is a recurring theme. As a consequence, poor people often try to conceal their poverty to avoid humiliation and shame. One deeply felt deprivation is not being able to do what is customary in the society." [12]

II. Poverty should take priority over the Environment

Sub-point A: It is more productive to focus on poverty reduction.

(1) "Spending $800 billion (in total present-day terms) over 100 years solely on mitigating emissions would reduce temperature increases by just 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. When you add up the benefits of that spending -- from the slightly lower temperatures -- the returns are only $685 billion. For each extra dollar spent, we would get 90 cents of benefits -- and this is even when things like environmental damage are taken into account." [13]

(2) "Providing micronutrients -- particularly vitamin A and zinc -- to 80% of the 140 million or so undernourished children in the world would require a commitment of just $60 million annually, a small fraction of the billions spent each year battling terrorism or combating climate change. The economic gains from improved productivity and a lower burden on the health system would eventually clear $1 billion a year. Every dollar spent, therefore, would generate economic benefits worth $17." [13]

Thus, combatting poverty is more productive than the focusing on the environment,

Sub-point B: Reducing poverty is a prerequisite to effective environmental protections.

(1) "Unless the world commits to steady, long-term investments...poor communities and countries will continue to suffer disproportionately...The result is a vicious cycle of ill health, poverty, and economic stagnation or recession. People that are ill and dying cannot lift themselves out of poverty. Sick, malnourished children cannot attend school and reach their full potential. And populations that are burdened by major diseases cannot contribute to their country"s socio-economic growth." In essence, poverty reduction is key to economic growth. [14]

(2) "With prosperity comes a desire to improve one's air and water--and, in addition, a greater moral awareness of the dangers and evils of pollution. Think of clean air and water as goods that a society can purchase--but only after it has satisfied its basic needs for food, shelter and rudimentary income...pollution per unit of production drops sharply once citizens receive a comfortable income." Thus, growth helps the environment. [15]

SOURCES

1 - http://data.worldbank.org...
2 - http://www.globalissues.org...
3 - http://www.merriam-webster.com...
4 - http://www.worldbank.org...
5 - http://abcnews.go.com...
6 - http://www.panarmenian.net...
7 - http://www.sciencedaily.com...
8 - Edward O"Neill, Jr., Professor Emergency Medicine, Tufts University, Awakening Hippocrates, 2006, p. 13-4
9 - James Gilligan, Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Violence: Reflections on Our Deadliest Epidemic, 2000 edition, p. 195-196
10 - UN Millennium Project, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, 2005, p. 9
11 - Paul R. Epstein, Harvard Medical School and Greg Guest, Family Health International, Globalization, Health and the Environment: an integrated perspective, ed. Greg Guest, 2005, p. 241
12 - http://documents.worldbank.org...
13 - Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus, How to Get the Biggest Bang for 10 Billion Bucks", Wall Street Journal op-ed, July 28, 2008
14 - http://www.who.int...
15 - James K. Glassman, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, August 12, 2002
Lordgrae

Con

I accept these definitions. However I would like to define that legislation that puts poverty reduction as a path to environmental protection as prioritizing poverty reduction and vice versa.

Okay I would like to start with a variety of points, that show how, not human life, but all life must be cared for first, how by prioritizing environmental protection we can eliminate poverty (or at least the dangers of poverty), and how much of a problem the environment is. I would also like to posit, if I have room in this round, how specifically we can write legislation that will reduce our ecological impact.

A. The ocean and our waters.

1. For years overfishing has been a major problem in the world. We have hunted whales to near extinction in the 1800's, and began overfishing for food in the 1900's. Over the years we have turned once prevalent species into endangered ones, and it is predicted that by 2048, many of the fish that are widely eaten will be all gone, or at such low numbers, and only then at captive breeding facilities. [1][2]

Without fish, many more people will be thrown into poverty, due to lost jobs and food sources. To save lives, we must stop overfishing, and often illegal fishing of waters and the destruction of breeding grounds and other habitats.

2. Clean drinking water is a barrier to progress, and endangers the livelihoods of many. 11% of people are without clean water, which is often due to manmade contaminants, or poor disposal of wastes. Fresh water, once heated is good to drink, however pollutants are not able to be removed this easily. Instead of spending money on just cleaning the water for direct human consumption and use, we should stop the problem at its source. If we clean the waters, people can have clean and plentiful fish to supplement their meager amount of food. They can also have reliable clean water, ready for use after boiling.[3]
B. Human populations are way too high. I am sure everyone has seen these numbers before, but the human population is growing exponentially. [4] With this massive population it is no wonder that we do not have the recourses to properly care for everyone. We need to start encouraging ways of population control. I am not for the killing of people, as that will not curb the population, it will merely delay it. I believe that we should distribute more contraceptives, make vasectomies more available, and encourage people to adopt, especially from overseas, instead of having children. The people of the US are having fewer children per adult than before. The same is true for most western countries. However, in poorer areas, they are having more and more children. We should encourage abandoned children in these areas to be adopted by Westerners, instead of Westerners having their own children, thus reducing amount of people, which would chiefly benefit the environment, with a slight curb to the population in poverty.
C. The quality of poverty is something that can be debated. A poor person in the city, may be below the poverty line, receive no help, and no clean water or medical attention. However, if someone was to be in a subsistence farm, even without medical care, if clean water and air and ground were present, as well as good fisheries, the quality of the latter"s life of poverty is much better than the first. To achieve the second we would not have to remove poverty, we would only have to clean up our environment. People can and have successfully lived off the land as subsistence farmers. If the environment is clean then they can do so in a healthy manner, living a decent lifestyle, even if below the poverty line.

[1] http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com...
[2] http://www.oceansentry.org...
[3] https://www.un.org...
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
bsh1

Pro

Thanks to Lordgrae for his responses. I will use this round to rebut Con's case.

CON's CASE

We concur on definitions.

A: Water

Point 1: Here I think it is important to point out that I am not forsaking the environment. I am arguing that, when the two policies conflict, poverty reduction should be prioritized over environmental protections. When the policies do not conflict, I fully support both helping the environment and reducing poverty in equal measure.

Moreover, look at Con's second source. Ocean Sentry is a politically-motivated action group which has a clear agenda in publishing articles that overemphasize environmental problems. The statistic it cites (2048) is not footnoted to its source, nor is there a link to follow in order to verify the number stated. All Ocean Sentry writes is that "scientists estimate" it. Which scientists? How many? What was their methodology? The answer is: we don't know. Couple this lack of support with the political bias of the website, and we can begin to discredit this information.

I would also argue that overfishing is something that individual nation-states should regulate, especially inasmuch as fishing rarely takes place in international waters, compared to national waters. For example, in the U.S., commercial fishing vessels are overseen and assisted by our national coastguard. [1] International treaties are good too--but such treaties are not necessarily under UN purview. Keep in mind that the UN is the actor in this resolution. Overfishing is a problem, but it's not the sort of problem that the UN should become embroiled with.

Point 2: I would argue that a lack of sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water are caused by poverty. If we can improve the economic status of an area, denizens of that area will have money to invest in better sanitation and better drinking water. In this way, addressing poverty is a prerequisite to improved health. Look at Contention One, Sub-point C of my case for further analysis on this point.

B: Human Population

Firstly, Con does not explain why reducing the human population can be achieved through environmental means. In fact, Con himself points out that, "in poorer areas, they are having more and more children." It seems, therefore, that if we alleviate poverty in those regions, that those regions' inhabitants will have fewer children. There is a correlation, then, between birth rates and income levels [2]; so if we can ameliorate poverty, then we can reduce or stabilize population growth and birth rates [2]. In other words, if we want to solve the population dilemma, we should focus on poverty reduction.

C: What is Poverty?

I don't deny that not everyone is severely impacted by the ravages of poverty, but, as noted in Contention One of my case, millions are negatively impacted by poverty. To outweigh my impacts, Con would have to show that environmental troubles are having greater, and more immediate, negative impacts on humanity than poverty is. Since Con offers no competing statistics, it is harder for him to outweigh my numbers. Therefore, it looks as if right now the UN should be prioritizing poverty relief as it is the more pressing issue; the problem of poverty is so enormous and grave that it must be tackled now.

Thank you! I eagerly await Con's replies!

SOURCES

1 - http://en.wikipedia.org...

2 - http://www.cgdev.org...
Lordgrae

Con

Lordgrae forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
bsh1

Pro

Unfortunately, Lordgrae failed to post. I hope that he does so next round. Thank you.
Lordgrae

Con

Lordgrae forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
bsh1

Pro

*sigh* Please VOTE PRO.
Lordgrae

Con

I'm really sorry about this BSH1. I forfeit this debate and the tournament. It just hit at a bad time. I had a convention that lasted all weekend (no wifi, thought there would be) and a bunch of tests on Thursday and Friday. Please vote Pro. I am very sorry.
Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by TheOncomingStorm 3 years ago
TheOncomingStorm
Bsh1 is right, every debate is winnable. In my opinion, no one person can be so knowledgeable and so logically perfect that their arguments cannot be brought down in some way or another.
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
@Lordgrae - that's a way too pessimistic view. On any given day, any given person can trip up and lose.
Posted by Lordgrae 3 years ago
Lordgrae
I have seen your debates. I would have most likely lost anyway.
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
@Lordgrae - that's totally fine; things come up. I hope you had a fun time at your convention!
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
Just a reminder for Lordgrae--only 2 hrs. left to post!
Posted by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
This is a great topic. I was actually just talking about it with friends today. Good luck!
Posted by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
Thanks!
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
Sounds like a good topic.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
bsh1LordgraeTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct, obviously, for the forfeits. S&G was equal enough for government work. Pro had more, and more reliable, sources. As to arguments: Con never really made a strong case due to the forfeits. From what *was* provided, though, it seemed likely that Pro would have won anyway--though unfortunately we will never know. Pro made a case, Con attempted to make his own, Pro rebutted...and all rebuttals were dropped. Arguments to Pro. As always, happy to clarify anything in this RFD.
Vote Placed by ClassicRobert 3 years ago
ClassicRobert
bsh1LordgraeTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Lordgrae conceded the debate.
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
bsh1LordgraeTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro essentially argued that reducing poverty is both more important and more achievable than mitigating environmental harm, and that reducing poverty actually may result in the reduction of environmental harm for a series of reasons. CON discussed drinking water as an example of some of the impacts that environmental problems have on human welfare. PRO's case was more compelling, in that it offered more and better reasons than CON did -and that aside CON failed to mount any kind of defense to PRO's case, because of his forfeiting several rounds, which both results in CON's loss of arguments and the conduct point.