Growth must not be anti-life!


Growth must not be anti-life!

Volume 6 Issue 10 News & Resources | October 2013


The whole basis of growth is to enhance life and its quality. Literally, the meaning of growth, normally, implies positive development, and how it inherently provides new meaning to life. In every aspect of human endeavors we yearn for growth which carries with it the unwritten despise for dormant and static environment. In the free market climate, growth can mean so many things. The implications can also be varied and unexpected. The old assumptions and expectations must also be reviewed and measured against the changing backdrop and life needs. Growth can be now anti-life, i.e. with growth the normal cycle of life is threatened and life faced visible destruction. This paradox is not obvious until it is too late. Life can now be at risks with growth. In most sectors of human civilization, growth must be checked against the overall goals of sustaining life on earth. This is not a plea, but a glaring fact of life in the modern era.

A large patch of forested areas in the outer ring of a big city may, sometimes, be seen as a waste of resources. Instinctly, it feels better to “develop” the land and make some profit or money out of it. The benefits will be felt by many in the surrounding areas. New businesses and, even factories, will provide new jobs and source of income for the needy. An underdeveloped green patch of land is not growth, but the clearing of it is the right way forward for real and tangible growth. In this example, exterminating life is assumed better than to keep it. Growth is now anti-life. What then is the option left for us? How can we develop further without destroying whatever we have? How do we achieve balance between moving forward and keeping life as it is? How we make growth that rejuvenates life and enhancing it? There are many questions than answers. Growth must now be made to enhance the quality of life, and not used as a smokescreen for uncontrollable exploitation of the natural resources.

The same rules apply when we conduct any research work. The initial aim for contributing to growth should be regularly checked against real data or performance. For example, one might asked: How can the collateral effects from the new technologies be managed and properly anticipated? Most likely, those scientists who came together and developed the atomic bomb may not have expected the disastrous use of it. The results of the bombs are real and visible. Towards the end of 2nd world war, 40,000 souls were taken in a single bombardment on city populated by about 200,000. New technology or new growth became a cause for unimaginable destruction via a single person flicking the switch to drop the bomb. Human being, on the pretext of moving forward, will not hesitate to sacrifice others in ensuring their desires are fulfilled. This is a unique specie-related behavior. And this one behavior must be kept in-check, especially for scientists and researchers aiming to contribute to the larger body of knowledge.

Growth must NOT be anti-life. It must be pro-life, i.e. new innovations must contribute in sustaining life in general. The exploration of the oceans and marine resources is one important case study. The number of R&D efforts for marine-related exploitations have been growing in the last few decades. The push-factor was the significant growth of the oil and gas sectors due to the exponential hunger of the world for new energy resources. New field explorations are heading away from the shore into the deeper oceans. The active subsea explorations have brought significant technology integration and fusion. In the meantime, the hazardous and corrosive ocean environment posed interesting challenge and problem to the technology developers and end-users. In this climate, the main worry is the lack of sustainable technology development consideration among the scientists and technology developers. Any short-term thinking and pure profit-oriented actions will bring unrecoverable destruction to the deep-sea resources. And, this is bad – for everyone. Only when real growth becomes a tool and not goal of any explorations, then this doomed scenario can be avoided. Scientists and researchers must make a conscious decision to ensure the inclusion of sustainability consideration in all their R&D efforts. This action will ensure growth that support life, and not against it.

The aim of this short article is simple. Researchers must always aim for growth that is positive to life. The uncontrolled desire for growth per say must be stopped. Although one can never fully anticipate the real and actual impact of any technology developed, steps must be taken to reduce the possibilities of abuse and damaging risks. One should move forward with harmony and with a clear conscience. In essence, we are not doing this for our life, but to ensure that future generations will not suffer due to us.

Growth must be PRO-life!

Written by : 
Assc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Rizal Arshad 
School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering 
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.