Industrial development has brought economic prosperity to a number of less developed countries. Learn about the environmental challenges and risks associated with these newly emerging national economies.
Most developed countries can point to time periods in their past when they experienced a tremendous amount of growth. For example, Britain and the United States experienced the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those years saw the advent of many inventions, including power-driven machinery that replaced slow and inefficient hand tools.
It was also a time when mass production of food and products became possible due to the creation of factories that ran on fossil fuels. These revolutions marked periods of rapid growth and economic prosperity, but all of this progress took a toll on the environment. Aggressive agricultural practices cleared previously undisturbed land and deteriorated soil quality. Factories and industrial advancements led to the release of water and air pollutants.
Today, we are seeing the industrial development of many emerging nations. In this lesson, we will look at some of these emerging economies and discuss how their industrial development could impact the environment in the 21st century.
Emerging Nations: BRICS
Emerging national economies, also known as emerging markets are less developed nations with fast-growing economies. In other words, they are countries undergoing rapid growth and industrialization that are poised to emerge onto the global market. There are many emerging nations in the world, but the acronym BRICS, pronounced like 'bricks' that you would build a house with, is used when discussing the five major emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These countries have large and fast-growing economies, and if their growth trend continues, they could become strong global economic players in the years to come.
As these emerging national economies become more stable, they become attractive to investors and businesses in developed countries. This can bring new factories and technologies into these nations, further boosting their national economy. However, this economic growth and prosperity does not come without environmental risk. The addition of factories and technological advancements seen in the BRICS and other emerging nations presents the challenge of balancing economic growth with environmental responsibility.
There are a number of environmental concerns with industrial development in emerging nations. With increased manufacturing and other industrial processes comes the need for more energy and the potential for more pollution. As emerging nations grow, they become responsible for increased greenhouse gas emissions. A greenhouse gas is an atmospheric gas that holds the sun's heat and may contribute to global climate change. In addition to the global atmospheric impact of industrialization, there is the threat of damage to the emerging countries' domestic environments. Industrialization spikes the need for resources, such as lumber, fossil fuels, fertile soil and water.
Deforestation, which is the clearing of woodlands, causes carbon dioxide that had been stored by the trees to be released into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect. Deforestation also leads to a loss of biodiversity. This can diminish the habitats for plants and animals and weaken local ecosystems.
The increased use of fossil fuels contributes to air and water pollution. This can become a health risk to citizens living in the country. The overuse of soil and water can degrade soil quality and dwindle water supplies, causing problems for agriculture and also threatening freshwater reserves. In addition to the need for more natural resources, there is also an increased need for industrial waste storage. If wastes are not stored properly, they can emit pollutants into the air and water.
Today's developed countries, including the U.S. and Britain, are leading the charge to clean up the environment. Once they became economically strong, many developed countries enact environmental protection policies to fix damage to the air, water and land that occurred during their years of industrial development. However, with the global concerns over the environment growing, emerging nations may not be able to wait until they have reached economic strength before needing to address environmental concerns.
One advantage emerging nations in the 21st century have is access to technology that is designed to produce less pollution, including access to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. These new technologies could pave the way for continued industrial development in emerging nations without the environmental destruction that came from events such as the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions of past centuries.
Let's review. Emerging national economies, also known as emerging markets are less developed nations with fast-growing economies. The acronym BRICS is used when discussing the five major emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These nations face the challenge of balancing economic growth with environmental responsibility.
There are a number of environmental concerns with industrial development of emerging nations. As emerging nations grow, they become responsible for increased greenhouse gas emissions. The countries may also see an increase in deforestation, an increased use of fossil fuels, the overuse of soil and water and an increased need for industrial waste storage.
When the lesson is complete, you should be able to:
- Identify the emerging nations of BRICS
- Recognize the environmental concerns of these emerging economies