Can we save the environment and still thrive economically?

Many people have argued that we can’t protect the environment, because it will harm us economically, but in the long run, the opposite is true. If you destroy a fishery, for instance, you destroy your ability to produce anything of economic value from that environment. In a wonderful book entitled Endangered Economies: How the neglect of nature threatens our prosperity by Geoff Heal, explains why this is true. The author runs the MBA program at Columbia University, so he certainly understands economics. Following are some reviews of his book taken from Amazon.

In this passionate and readable book, Heal sets out the measures needed to reconcile economic progress with preservation of the planet. They are surprisingly simple and attainable. Heal demonstrates that there is not a trade-off between growth and environmental protection, but that they can and must go hand-and-hand, that growth is not attainable over the long run without protecting the environment.
— Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics

A hostile environment can derail economic development, and a distorted economy―where producers and consumers inflict deep environmental damage at little cost―can cause a profoundly hostile environment. But good policy can foster strong and sustainable economic progress and protect and restore our fragile ecosystems. That is the clear, compelling argument Geoff Heal has done so much to create, and which he sets out so persuasively and accessibly in this very important book.
— Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics

Endangered Economies is a remarkable overview of how we should protect the planet to protect our prosperity. We could not have a better guide through this complex set of issues. Geoffrey Heal is a brilliant economist, a world-leading pioneer of sustainable development, and a remarkably experienced and perceptive policy analyst. Readers will gain deep insights from Heal’s wise discussion of the world’s most vital environmental challenges: climate change, biodiversity, fisheries, clean air and water, and the proper measurement and management of the economy. This is indispensable reading.
— Jeffrey D. Sachs, author of The Age of Sustainable Development

Told as a story of discovery and the evolution of his own thinking, Geoffrey Heal’s book makes difficult conceptual arguments transparent. He uses examples to illustrate the key issues in environmental economics. In so doing, he demonstrates why an understanding of the consequences of all production and consumption processes for environmental resources must be an essential part of any description of economic activities.
— V. Kerry Smith, Arizona State University, University Fellow, Resources for the Future