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Environmental poverty, a decomposed environmental Kuznets curve, and alternatives: Sustainability lessons from China

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  • Liu, Lee

Abstract

Amid increasing recognition of the importance of the environmental factor in understanding poverty and development, this article coins the term “environmental poverty” to refer to the lack of the healthy environment needed for society's survival and development as a direct result of human-induced environmental degradation. A decomposed environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) demonstrates that places (such as countries, counties, or cities) following the “grow first, clean up later” approach (or the first half of the EKC) may obtain economic gains accompanied by extreme environmental sacrifice, excessive social injustice, and income and environmental inequalities. The same place may include communities whose curves differ in shape. Some communities may prosper at the expense of other communities, which may fall into environmental poverty and eventually irreversible environmental degradation and economic failure. Places following alternatives or “flat EKCs” may be slow in getting out of economic poverty, but enjoy a healthier environment, equality in income and environmental quality, and social justice. Countries, especially developing countries, should aspire to sustainable alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Lee, 2012. "Environmental poverty, a decomposed environmental Kuznets curve, and alternatives: Sustainability lessons from China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 86-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:73:y:2012:i:c:p:86-92
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.10.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Farhani, Sahbi & Mrizak, Sana & Chaibi, Anissa & Rault, Christophe, 2014. "The environmental Kuznets curve and sustainability: A panel data analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 189-198.
    2. Polyxeni Nicolopoulou-Stamati & Ioannis Matiatos & Chrysanthi Kotampasi & Panagiotis Stamatis & Annie Sasco & Evaggelia Protopapa & Luc Hens, 2015. "Training in environmental health necessitates tacit knowledge," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 299-314, April.
    3. Ge, Xiaodong & Li, Yaoguang & Luloff, Albert E. & Dong, Kaikai & Xiao, Jun, 2015. "Effect of agricultural economic growth on sandy desertification in Horqin Sandy Land," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 53-63.
    4. Parlow, Anton, 2014. "Environmental Pressure and Armed Conflict - Is there an empirical Kuznets Curve for Myanmar?," MPRA Paper 55828, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Abanda, F.H. & Ng’ombe, A. & Keivani, R. & Tah, J.H.M., 2012. "The link between renewable energy production and gross domestic product in Africa: A comparative study between 1980 and 2008," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 2147-2153.
    6. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:1636-1642 is not listed on IDEAS

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