The current economy only functions if it is expanding enough so that capitalists can make more and more profits, leading to very unhealthy levels of the wrong types of industry, bad land development, abuse of workers in order to compete, and poor use of natural resources.
Some environmentalists argue that we need to reach a “steady-state” no-growth economy, and that will require sacrifices. I think in some ways it is not helpful to frame it this way. We need an economy that is equitable, serves our needs well, and doesn’t kill us, yes. But growth comes in many forms. We want continued growth in technical and scientific progress, medical discovery and treatment, general education for all, spiritual growth, growth in our wild areas, growth in our ability to feed each-other safely, growth in our renewable resources like soil and water and the natural life therein, and most of all growth in community and international bonds of solidarity. Progress without pollution.