The government can take a variety of actions to help protect the environment. Which one of the following do you think is the most important for the nation's government to take to protect the environment?
1. Fund the research to develop environmentally-friendly energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
2. Preserve the natural places like forests and protect the animals that live there.
3. Enforce laws to prevent the pollution of air and water by large companies.
1. Develop alternative energy -- most important: address energy crisis/ reduce air pollution
2. Protect wilderness areas and wild animals -- cannot address the most urgent environmental problems/ hinder economic development
3. Enforce laws -- domestic sewage and waste is also a large source
Many countries are plagued by environmental problems, such as air pollution, water pollution, energy crisis and deforestation, to name only a few. Fortunately, the governments of these countries are determined to take such actions as developing alternative energy, preserving natural habitats and enforcing laws to mitigate the problems. Although all these solutions are practical, the most important and effective one should be to develop alternative energy sources.
To find the most effective solution, one must first identify the urgency of the different problems. In fact, the two most urgent environmental problems for many countries are energy crisis and air pollution, which can be duly addressed by developing alternative energy sources such as solar energy and wind energy. First of all, the fact that fossil fuels will one day be used up means we have less than a century to find replacements for fossil fuels, which are consumed at an ever increasing speed these days. If the government can fuel the research in this respect, cheaper solar panels and more wind mills can be built and put into use, so as to generate electricity for all aspects of life. In this way, we could rely much less on non-renewable energy. Moreover, the burning of traditional fossil fuels also generate carbon emissions and other particles that pollute the atmosphere. In recent years, cities relying on fossil fuels for central heating have been suffering from haze and heavy smog. Yet solar energy and wind energy will not produce exhausts or harmful particles, so once they are utilized on a large scale, the sky in major cities will no longer be foggy and the residents will no longer rely on air purifiers.
Preserving natural habitats, on the other hand, can only address one small part of the problem, so it is less effective than developing new energy sources. Admittedly, preserving natural habitats may help to protect forests and the animals living in these areas, but this approach may also hinder economic development. If a mine is discovered in a forest, will the government just leave it be and never explore it? If a town wants to build a road to connect itself to the outside world, will the government force it to remain reclusive simply because the road will intersect a forest? The answer to these questions are certainly no, so preserving natural habitats is not top on the agenda for the government.
Likewise, enforcing laws would not be as effective as seeking alternative energy. The defect of this approach is that laws and regulations can be by-passed by setting the factories to the places where laws are not so stringent or punishment not so severe. In this case, pollutants are still generated, as is the case of some multinational companies which relocate their factories to developing countries. Also, apart from large companies, domestic waste and sewage also constitute a considerable amount of pollution. Therefore, even if the laws can restrain the large companies, they can hardly address the issue once and for all because domestic pollutants are also impairing the environment.
In conclusion, the most effective and important action is to encourage the development of alternative energy sources if the government wants to protect the environment.