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Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction w

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,471 times Debate No: 44201
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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The Forensics Files - 19 "
The LD File Environmentalism v Extraction
Affirmative Cases
I affirm the resolution, "Resolved: Developing countries should prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction when the two are in conflict." The value for the round is morality because of the inclusion of the word "should" defined by Macmillan to mean to, "used for talking about what is right, sensible, or correct" as the evaluative term in the resolution and morality means what is right or wrong. This definition is consistent with what is meant when the word should is used to prescribe an action that should be taken such as a person should tell the truth or should be kind to others meaning this is the proper value because in ensures cases are topical. Cases achieving another value would thus not be topical and can be disregarded as not directly answering the question of the resolution which is whether developing countries have a moral duty to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction. So we need a standard that will enable us to know if such an obligation exists. The United Nations is the best source to identify the moral duties of states for a couple of reasons. One is that states sign on to be a part of the United Nations meaning a type of social contract can be logically inferred from voluntary membership in this organization. Two is that the United Nations is an organization of individuals with expertise in governing meaning they provide the best perspective on the duties of governments. A primary obligation of government is to protect their vulnerable citizens.
United Nations Population Fund, "Human Rights: The Human Rights-Based Approach,"
In a rights-based approach, every human being is recognized both as a person and as a right-holder. A rights-based approach strives to secure the freedom, well-being and dignity of all people everywhere, within the framework of essential standards and principles, duties and obligations. The rights-based approach supports mechanisms to ensure that entitlements are attained and safeguarded. Governments have three levels of obligation: to respect, protect and fulfil every right. To respect a right means refraining from interfering with the enjoyment of the right. To protect the rightThe Forensics Files - 20 "
The LD File Environmentalism v Extraction
means enacting laws that create mechanisms to prevent violation of the right by state authorities or by non-state actors. This protection is to be granted equally to all. To fulfil the right means to take active steps to put in place institutions and procedures, including the allocation of resources to enable people to enjoy the right. A rights-based approach develops the capacity of duty-bearers to meet their obligations and encourages rights holders to claim their rights. Rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The human rights-based approach focuses on those who are most vulnerable, excluded or discriminated against. UNFPA is committed to work for the poorest women, men and youth, particularly in the fields of sustainable development and population, reproductive health and rights and HIV prevention, in times of peace or in times of conflict, as well as in response to natural disasters. This often requires an analysis of gender and social exclusion to ensure that programmes reach the most marginalized and vulnerable segments of the population. The human rights-based approach constitutes a framework of action as well as a methodological tool to fulfil UNFPA"s mandate in the context of reforms in a changing world. This approach is also expected to achieve results: sustained progress towards respect of human rights, development, peace, security, eradication of poverty, and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
This means the criterion to achieve morality in the context of the resolution is upholding governmental obligations to the vulnerable. If I prove that prioritizing resource extraction threatens the poor then it then cannot be moral and you must affirm.
The thesis of my case is that resource extraction threatens the poor.
1. The poor bear the brunt of environmental pollution.
Blacksmith Institute. "The Hidden Tragedy: Pollution in the Developing World," Blacksmith Institute, 2001,
Environmental health risks are highest in regions housing the majority of the world"s poor: Twenty seven percent of the total burden of disease in Africa, and 18% in Asia, is environmentally related.3 There is a clear link between poverty and pollution. Poverty determines the environmental risks individuals face: where they live, their access to cleanThe Forensics Files - 21 "
The LD File Environmentalism v Extraction
water and proper sanitation, and their exposure to various kinds of environmental pollutants, while limiting their access to adequate resources for dealing with those risks. Unable to afford clean fuels, the poor depend on dirty fuels for cooking and heating, filling their dwellings with smoke; their dwellings are usually located near roadways, waste dumps, or industrial areas, subjecting them to a daily barrage of air pollution, noise, and the risks of toxic spills. Any efforts to mitigate the effects of environmental pollution necessarily include issues of distribution of wealth. Without opportunities to achieve economic security, the world"s poor will always bear an unfair burden of the health risks arising from the prosperity enjoyed by their more affluent neighbors.
This means the impact of an unhealthy environment falls hardest on the poor and so unless developing countries shift their priorities they cannot meet the moral duty to the poor and so you can affirm.
2. Children in developing countries are especially at risk from environmental issues.
Blacksmith Institute. "The Hidden Tragedy: Pollution in the Developing World," Blacksmith Institute, 2001,
One in five children in the developing world do not live to see their fifth birthday; two-thirds of preventable diseases occurring worldwide from environmental causes occur among children.7 Many of the developing world"s children face daily exposure not only to hazards resulting from lack of access to essential environmental resources, but also to a barrage of toxic chemicals and other pollutants stemming from unchecked development. These pollutants include agricultural chemicals, heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, industrial chemicals, and a variety of air pollutants, which have all been linked with birth defects, cancer, and weakening of the human immune system. Children are much more susceptible to these hazards than adults. Exposure to toxic agents can occur before conception if the mother is exposed to pollutants such as lead and mercury that cross the placenta, and there are wide ranges of chemicals that can be transferred through breastThe Forensics Files - 22 "
The LD File Environmentalism v Extraction
milk. Many children work in fields that have been sprayed with pesticides, and their parents may carry home chemical residues on their clothing. Having higher metabolic rates than adults, children breathe air from closer to the ground, and ingest higher concentrations of pollutants; inhaling them more deeply into their lungs than do adults, they retain these pollutants and absorb them into their metabolisms more readily. It is often said that a nation"s children are its greatest resource. Any accurate reckoning of the global costs of environmental related deaths and injuries must take into account the huge wasted human and economic potential of environmental pollution"s impact on children.
This means unchecked development is hurting the most vulnerable in society, children, leading to health problems and even death. This means that unless developing nations begin to check development, they cannot meet their moral duty to the vulnerable in their society and so you can affirm.
3. Focusing on resource extraction negatively impacts the vulnerable in society. Maria S. Floro (Associate Professor, Department of Economics, American University, Washington, D.C., "The Crises of Environment and Social Reproduction: Understanding their Linkages," American University, 2012
The evolving crisis of care for people has to do with the growing imbalances within and across societies with respect to access to care and subsistence necessities as well as the articulated hierarchy in the economics paradigm that biases the use of resources towards meeting the requirements of market production over those of social reproduction. Social reproduction involves the maintenance of and provisioning for human life as well as to the enhancement of capabilities of people as workers, citizens, and stewards of this planet. It involves the undertaking of reproductive or R13;careR14; activities that affect the well-being of both current and future generations such as food preparation, domestic work, subsistence production, childcare, care for the sick and elderly, collection of fuelThe Forensics Files - 23 "
The LD File Environmentalism v Extraction
and water, etc., which are mainly performed using unpaid labor in the household. They are largely not counted in the Systems of National Accounts (SNA) and conventional social and economic indicators; hence they remain R13;invisibleR14; in most macroeconomic models, ignored in standard cost-benefit analyses, and outside the purview of policymakers.2 The crisis of care is experienced in small and large scales and at localized as well as broader levels in the forms of (a) feeble support to meet adequately the needs of the sick, young, elderly or disabled, (b) chronic stress and long work hours of primary caregivers, as well as (c) stunted lives and everyday struggles to fight hunger, disease, etc.
This means that a focus on development and extraction allows governments to be blinded to the plight of the vulnerable people within their nation and so a shift to prioritizing the environment will ensure governments can no longer be blind to the plight of vulnerable people and so you can affirm.


I accept the debate and negate the resolution resolved: Developing countries should prioritize resource extraction over environmental protection

Firstly, I will define some definitions.

Developing Countries - A country in the process of advancing technolically, economically,
socially, and politically

Should -
(provided by my opponent) used for talking about what is right, sensible, or correct

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

Environmental Protection - Not damaging the planet by any means.

Resource Extraction - The act of taking minerals and sources from the Earth in order to sell or use the items extracted.

Now, I will state my cases

Before I refute my opponent's statements, I would like to state my arguments.

My value for this debate is Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism is the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority. [1] This is the best value for this round because the greater of the many would benefit the entire developing country as a whole, over just a small group of people.

My first contention is the need for resources.

"With no doubt, the key step to independence in each country is its ability in providing basic needs. Basic necessities, known as food, shelter, education ... providing these necessities is fundamental for economic growth, technology advancement, and creating job opportunities in poor countries."[2] Like the quote explains, the key step to a successful growing country is not being dependent on any other country for recourses. To pursue this, the country needs to be able to acquire their own resources. The most reasonable way to pursue this action is through extracting resources from the environment. Having these resources will most surely help the people overall because in order to have a strong country in general, they need to have all these necessities. "Absolute or extreme poverty is when people lack the basic necessities for survival" [3] In order to get these necessities, people need to obtain them and the best way to do this undoubtedly resource extraction. How would affecting the environment help the country? The ancient Roman's asked themselves this same question. Rome was named one, if not the most, successful civilizations of the ancient world. Their power was not only a strong military, but a strong engineering force. By building structures that would increase the quality of daily lives, people were proud to be part of Rome. Because of their ability to receive necessities of an empire, they were much more stable than the other barbaric groups of their time. "The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to bring water from distant sources into their cities and towns, supplying public baths, latrines, fountains and private households. Waste water was removed by complex sewage systems and released into nearby bodies of water, keeping the towns clean and free from effluent. Aqueducts also provided water for mining operations, milling, farms and gardens." [4] With these aqueducts, they obtained a major necessity: Water. By having these other advantages, they did not rely on other lands for resources because they can produce it themselves. If a country today were to arouse from independence, extracting resources, like the Romans did, would make them not rely on any other countries which would improve their own economy. By improving the economy, the people would be more successful and the country would also be more successful as a whole.

My second contention is the stabilization of the country's economy

"Economic stability refers to an absence of excessive fluctuations in the macroeconomy. An economy with fairly constant output growth and low and stable inflation would be considered economically stable. An economy with frequent large recessions, a pronounced business cycle, very high or variable inflation, or frequent financial crisis would be considered economically unstable." [5] The article provided in [6] refers to creating economic stability as "to pursue monetary policy to achieve the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates." [6] The best way to have a stable economy is to have the maximum employment. In the situation the developing country is in at the moment, the best way to have a high employment rate is to create government resource extraction programs. Such programs such as mining would be able to not only provide jobs, but be able to have a resource income that can be used and distributed amongst the country to help increase the economy. When the resources are already obtained, the country would be able to trade the products with other countries to even boost their economic situation upward. Another way to ensure economic stability would be having a stable and staple food supply. By creating tools that would increase the amount of food produced, the country would be able to feed it's people so they can spend time more effectively. Referring to the definition provided by link 5, the definition of economic stability states that "an economy with very high or variable inflation, or frequent financial crisis would be considered economically unstable." [5]. How would protecting the environment ensure a stable economy, or one without any financial crisis?

I will refute my opponent's arguments next round







Debate Round No. 1


I would like to provide a brief road map for the second round. I will first rebuild my case and attack my opponent's, but save my voting issues for the final round.

First I would like to address my value of Quality of Life. My opponent said that their side best achieves a higher quality of life because the money from resource extraction goes to the people. However in many developing countries this is not the case. A lot of developing countries have extremely corrupt governments. An example would be the Philippians where most of the money gathered from resource extraction (such as cyanide fishing) goes straight to the government, rather than the people, therefore quality of life is best achieved on the affirmative side because of the disastrous affects resource extraction can have on the environment.

As for my criterion of teleology, I will address my opponent's question: "Would sacrificing many human lives for the sake of our future be moral under this theory?" In answer to the question, yes. In a sense, that is exactly what war is. For example, the civil war. Had brave men not given their lives to fight against slavery, America would have taken much longer to put an end to that horrible ordeal.

My opponent attacked my first contention by bringing up that studies show pollution decelerates with decades of economic growth. Pollution is defined as: "The action or process of making land, water, air, etc., dirty and not safe or suitable to use." So they are claiming that if during the process of extraction resources either land, water, or air becomes unsuitable for use it will rejuvenate itself over time, however my opponent gave no examples of this taking place in a developing country. Imagine the deforestation in Albania. If they kept cutting down trees (which contributes to land, water, and air pollution) the trees are not going to start growing back as we continue to cut them down. Had Albania not started prioritizing environmental protection, the situation would have only gotten worse.

In attempt to attack my second contention, my opponent brought up that poverty increases when environmental protection takes precedence over resource extraction because of the jobs and wealth provided by resource extraction. I will first address the jobs. Many of the jobs that are provided in the resource extraction department of developing countries involve child labor. Countries use children as cheap, readily available, workers. Child labor pays low and is extremely dangerous, so the jobs do not provide a surplus of money for the citizens. Now I will address the money. As I mentioned earlier, developing countries often have corrupt governments. The money that is obtained from resource extraction is going to go to the government, rather than the citizens of the country.

As my opponent attacked my third contention, they mentioned that prioritizing environmental protection will not fix the issues within the government about mismanagement of resources. I ask readers to consider this: If a country has corruption and problems with management of resources that result in the resource curse, would this not be a reason enough to focus on environmental protection rather than resource extraction so that the problem can be avoided altogether? My opponent said that "until my opponent can give an example of ONE single country that has developed without resources or resources severely regulated this contention completely falls in today's debate" The affirmative is not attempting to abolish resource extraction. Also, my contention was not about how developing countries can survive without resource extraction, it was about how developing countries cannot survive excessive resource extraction. Before developing countries can extract resources, they need to make sure they ensure environmental stability.

I now move on to attack my opponent's case:

My opponent's value is social development. They claimed that economic progress is necessary for the development of the country. Social development is important, but not as important as protecting our environment. Again, The affirmative side is not attempting in any way to abolish resource extraction. The affirmative is only saying that economic protection should take precedence in instances where it conflicts with resource extraction. So when resource extraction is not hurting the environment, by all means we should extract resources. Often times, as mentioned in my third contention, resource extraction actually hinders economic development because of the resource curse. My opponent stated that "keeping the environment safe should not be put above education, safety, and growth of humans in the country (especially those in poverty)" Environmental protection has nothing to do with education, and it can only promote safety because bad environmental conditions will hurt humans.

My opponent's criterion is utilitarianism which is the belief that a morally good action is one that helps the greatest number of people. It is important to observe that there are instances where utilitarianism can be achieved on the affirmative side. Because a high quality of life is achieved by prioritizing environmental protection over resource extraction, utilitarianism is achieved because the citizens will be satisfied with conditions that make life more than a struggle for survival, rather than conditions that involve poor economic conditions, poverty, and child labor.

My opponent's first contention stated that pollution decelerates over decades of economic growth. As I mentioned before, my opponent could not name a country where the level of pollution actually got lower as the excessive resource extraction continued.

My opponent's second contention stated that ppoverty increases without the jobs and wealth that come from resource extraction. As I said before, often the jobs involve child labor, and often the wealth is given directly to the government. Often times poverty can be caused by excessive resource extraction, like in the case of Lesotho, where 70% of their soil is unusable due to soil degradation. Poverty in that country is excessive because it's citizens cannot grow their own food. My opponent also stated that "poor people"s livelihoods will remain heavily dependent on natural resources: soil, water, forests and fisheries..." If we remove these resources at a rapid rate, the damage done to the environment will cannot be undone. Extracting these resources in a way that makes room for environmental protection is okay because the two are not in conflict in a situation such as that, but if we negate the resolution and remove the resources too fast we will end up with countries like Lesotho where almost nothing can grow.

Therefore, I affirm.


debatinghoe123 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


varshachooranolickal forfeited this round.


debatinghoe123 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


varshachooranolickal forfeited this round.


debatinghoe123 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


All of my attacks on my opponent's arguments and all of my arguments still stand since my opponent forfeited. I am going to go ahead and address voting issues.

1. Social progress (my opponent's value) cannot be achieved when resource extraction takes precedence over environmental protection for several reasons: the resource curse- This can be proved because multiple countries in Africa have suffered from the resource curse. I broke the concept down in my third contention. "Basically the economy begins to revolve around the industry, and more and more people begin to get jobs that are part of the industry. Then value of the national currency goes down because of high wages and other industries (especially the manufacturing sector) begin to suffer. Developing countries with low amounts of economic growth are often the ones with an abundance of natural resources."
Developing countries have extremely corrupt governments. Money is not going to the people, rather it is going to the government. Also, jobs that come from resource extraction have very low wages and commonly use child labor.
In Lesotho, 70% of the country's soil is unusable. If Lesotho prioritizes environmental protection, the citizens in poverty can feed themselves and earn money from farming. However, if Lesotho prioritizes resource extraction, the country will have no way of achieving progress. The affirmative is not trying to abolish resource extraction. Only in instances of conflict should environmental protection be prioritized. If it is not prioritized, it will hinder, rather than help developing countries progress into developed countries.

My opponent is essentially saying that (as someone commented) economic growth is synonymous with resource extraction. This is not the case because of the reasons above.

2. Utilitarianism (my opponent's criterion) can be achieved best on my side.
Excessive resource extraction is only going to worsen the conditions of developing countries. The only way to help the greatest number of people is to prioritize environmental protection over resource extraction.

3. And finally the weight of the round, life/quality of life. Only on the affirmative side can we achieve this. According to the OECD, 800,000 people die a year from environmental causes. Developing countries cannot even begin to address this problem unless they prioritize environmental protection.

At last if my opponent doesn't respond then I will give it to the judges to make the vote.


debatinghoe123 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by varshachooranolickal 6 years ago
Any one can vote now if you want
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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