Economy Versus Environment

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 (, 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.”

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit was born under the hot Floridian sun during some year in the 1980s. There he studied school matters until moving to North Carolina in 1999. Possibly due to the fact that his mom had enough of him being inside all the time, he quickly got involved in community affairs via the Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the values of citizenship, morality, duty to God and country, and that the biggest kids get to boss around the smaller ones. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2004, and still values the rank as one of his proudest achievements. Beginning in 2006, Chris began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he quickly learned the value of basketball and poplar trees. Since attending UNC, Chris has been double majoring in Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese, and Political Science. When he isn’t slaving over his honors thesis, looking up a bunch of Chinese Characters, volunteering, or mindlessly browsing the same websites over and over, Chris enjoys writing short stories and novels. Much to his roommates’ annoyance, he also spends his free time learning to play the guitar. Above all else, though, Chris values God, his family, and his friends. For the future, Chris plans to apply to Georgetown to further his studies in Political Science, hopefully with a concentration on China. Pending acceptance into Georgetown, Chris would like to study while gaining professional experience in a government job in Washington DC.
Chris Buchheit

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