While there are certainly many benefits associated with a growing global community; including increased awareness of and communication with other regions and cultures, opportunities for businesses to expand, and the potential to spread societal advances and goodwill across the planet; there are also quite a few drawbacks that go along with human expansion. For one thing, there are always going to be unscrupulous parties (individuals or entities) looking to take advantage of unsuspecting people, and even entire nations. And unfortunately, the negative impact on the environment can be high. Here are just a few of the most common side effects of globalization that are currently facing our planet.
The first major issue comes in the form of greenhouse gas emissions (you know, those pesky hydrocarbons that are to blame for the speeding up the global warming trend). With increasing globalization we have seen growth in both the travel trade (as tourists enter previously unvisited areas) and shipping. The expansion of multinational businesses into new nations is beneficial in that it provides new jobs and inroads for infrastructure to those countries while allowing for the businesses to reach new consumer markets with their goods and services (not to mention possibly improving the global economy). But the downside of this growth is an increase in travel and shipping. And overseas freight shipping (often done by airplane) is one of the worst polluters (although the overland trucking business isn’t far behind).
Sadly, this isn’t the biggest threat by a long shot. Many nations that are emerging as prospective business partners are somewhat new to the global economy. In many cases they don’t have the same environmental restrictions in place as their more fully developed brethren. So they may not be aware of the impact that manufacturing, mining, and even tourism can have on their ecosystem (and the planet as a whole). They might therefor allow abuses that other countries have banned. This, of course, encourages some businesses to exploit the system, moving into burgeoning economies in order to take advantage of their lax standards where the environment is concerned.
But it gets even worse. Countries that have long enjoyed partnerships with companies from larger, more profitable nations do not want to see those corporate dollars heading to greener pastures (so to speak). And they may feel that the only way to gain a competitive edge is to lower their own environmental standards in order to give businesses incentive to stay. This so-called “race to the bottom” not only damages the country in which it occurs, but it has the potential to negatively impact the entire planet. And it likely won’t end until some kind of international environmental standards are enacted.
However, it’s not all bad. The increased communications capabilities that have allowed for the advancement of globalization may be used to spread an eco-friendly agenda. And many organizations have used it to support and expand movements in developing nations that are calling for increased environmental standards. They make sure that more information is available over at these locations so that grass-roots organizations can spread the word and increase awareness of their cause. They may additionally gain funding to launch campaigns for change across the globe. The hope is that they will eventually prevail over big business and its penchant for pollution.