Economic growth threatens our environment. After all, economic activity transforms nature into an economic product or service. In aggregate, economic activity has pushed many ecosystems to the point of collapse and we are beginning to push up against global limits. The impacts are seen everywhere: from the depletion of essential “stocks” such as rare metals and vital nutrients, to the loss of habitat and destabilization in forest ecosystems and climate systems, to pollution and rising toxicity levels in water and food.
There is some reasonable debate and some unreasonable debate regarding the relationship between ecosystems and economic growth. While economic activity can become more ecologically efficient, this does not undermine the thesis that there is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and the ecosystem. The following resources discuss this relationship in greater depth.