The environment and the economy often have much to do with each other. Many people disagree with greening technology because they see it as a temporary dampener of the economy by hindering growth. Whichever side of the fence you may be on with this issue, there are many cases where the economy and the environment are often at odds.
In one particular case, the Aral Sea is drying up, and due mainly to economic reasons, the world’s leaders are at odds with finding solutions.
According to a recent AP story (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=10281215), one of the greatest seas in the world has shrunk up to ninety percent. Back in the days of the Cold War, the USSR diverted rivers from the sea in order to help crop production in others areas of the desert. This began the drying of the sea, and it continued until today, when sand is much of what is left of the Aral Sea.
However, is restoring the sea just as easy as redirecting the water back into it?
Disputes over the use of water in the region have slowed the restoration process. Dam projects in Tajikistan “severely reduce the amount of water flowing into Uzbekistan”, but diverting power away from the projects could cost millions in clean energy. On top of that Tajikistan leaders also see the dam as a means to increasing their own economy. However, while leaders squabble over whose right it is to use the water, the Aral Sea continues to dry up.
It’s another example of the economy versus environment problems, and unfortunately it is not as easy as putting the water back to where it originally flowed. People now rely on the redirected water for survival.
It is clearly a conflict of interest, and humanity needs to decide where it draws the line for certain decisions. However, when other peoples’ lives may depend on those decisions, the solutions become shaky.
“I urge all the leaders … to sit down together and try to find the solutions,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of this situation, calling it, “one of the worst disasters, environmental disasters of the world.”