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Monday, March 30, 2009

Progress – its benefits and harms

Progress – its benefits and harms

Progress normally means improvement, that is, a movement towards something better than what it is. It is undoubted that progress does make living easier for mankind. It is also undoubted that we have to pay a price for progress. Thus progress has its benefits as well as its undesirable companion, harms.

The town I live in is undergoing great changes. A few years back there was greenery all around the town. Now the hills and forests are quickly removed for building houses. I admit that the houses are urgently required for the ever expanding population and the building of these houses certainly do benefit the residents. If these houses are not built then the result will be that illegal squatters will spring up and make matters worse.

However, progress for us has to be paid with a terrible price. The price of this is the loss of the hills and forests, and together with it the natural habitat of the flora and fauna that cannot say anything in protest. So a benefit for human beings results in harm to the natural environment. Which is more important, human benefit or natural preservation? I really cannot answer that.

This trend of progress whereby it is beneficial to man and harmful to the environment is evident everywhere. The likelihood is that this trend will continue and probably get more intense. Look anywhere in the world where man has chosen to make progress and the evidence of environment destruction is plain to see.

For instance, the construction of supper highways is definitely necessary for the old system of roads simply cannot cater for the number of vehicles using them. These highways are of great benefit and convenience to human beings. To the environment, however, the highways are like great dividing lines that cut the hand into many sections. No animal, and for that matter, human being, is allowed to cross from one side of the road to the other. In other words, physical contact between both sides of the road is restricted. An animal cannot go from one side to the other without the risk of being run over. Carcasses of such creatures can be seen daily on these highways. These dumb creatures do not know any traffic rule. So they get killed needlessly.

So the factories and other human constructions continue to eat into the natural environment. We human beings benefit each day as we grow in wealth and power. Our living becomes easier and more convenient as we invent more and more gadgets to do our chores for us. We enjoy the fruits of our progress.

The Earth, however, has to provide us with all our comforts and as such, the natural world has to be denuded. So far the Earth can still cope with the unnatural demands of human beings. One day when we have exhausted our natural resources, we may find that, despite all our modern conveniences, and because of them, our world is no longer fit to live in. We would have destroyed it.

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