7 Effects of Globalization on the Environment

7 effects of globalization on the environment

The effects of globalization on the environment are discussed in this article.

The world is getting smaller every day.

Not literally but metaphorically.

A long long time ago, reaching people from one end of the world to another took a lot of time and effort.

There was a closed system. A closed system means you would not know what was going on in other countries.

This was a time when populations survived individually producing everything they needed.

Letters took months to reach their destination, countries produced about everything they needed, nations were cut out of the news of what was happening in another. Each country was ruled by its policies alone.

There was no sharing of inventions and discoveries. There was no colonization.

There was no international organization like IMF or World Bank nor was there any need for them. The relationship between countries was nonexistent.

When any country had a problem, countries didn’t come together to address it, they had to deal with it individually.

But for millennia and centuries, the world has been coming together.

And recently, the world has been put together. This is why some people now refer to the world as a ‘global village.’

The proper term for this development is called Globalization.

What is Globalization?

Globalization is the connection and integration of people, cultures, and governments worldwide.

It is global integration. It started as an unprecedented international connectivity. However, many recent activities towards globalization are intentional.

First, trade began merging the world into an interdependent space then technology advanced the process of merging people, cultures, economies, and political trends.

7 effects of globalization on the environment
Roger Williams facilitating international trade in India. (Source: history.com)

It is globalization that makes you migrate from Austria to the U.S. and wear a shirt that says ‘Made in Venezuela.’ You can say hello to your French co-worker.

And buy gas produced in Kuwait, you drive to the supermarket and buy rice produced in Thailand, prawns produced in China, pasta from Italy, and a pressing iron from Japan.

Types of Globalization

In 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified four basic aspects of globalization:

  • Trade and transactions
  • Capital and investment movement
  • Migration and movement of people
  • Dissemination of knowledge

Meanwhile, academics categorized it into three:

  • Economic globalization
  • Political globalization
  • Cultural globalization

1. Economic globalization

Economic globalization is the interdependence between national economies.

This is achieved through international trade and trade regulations, globalization of production through exports, globalization or union of markets, reduction of trade barriers, and creation of regulating bodies.

An example is the global stock market where a change in one market affects others.

The World Trade Center where international trade is facilitated is a tool for economic globalization.

2. Cultural globalization

Cultural globalization is the transmission, exchange, and consumption of values and cultures, systems, and beliefs.

This brings about shared norms, cultural tolerance, peace, and unity. This is achieved through the internet, migration, and international travel. Sharing music, entertainment, and ways of living.

3. Political globalization

Political globalization is the emphasis on the worldwide political system and the reduction of state-wide ownership. This includes intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations.

One popular example is the United Nations, World Health Organization, and the European Union.

Effects of Globalization on the Environment

Every system has its flaws.

Globalization has allowed society to enjoy many benefits, including increased socialization, increased market and national GDP, expanded knowledge for living, increased global cooperation, reduced risk of global conflict, improved standard of living, employment opportunities, lower manufacturing costs, and lower prices for goods and commodities.

Unfortunately, there are also some serious negative effects of globalization on the environment.

Here are the negative effects of globalization on the environment:

  • Increased greenhouse gases
  • Deforestation
  • Invasive species
  • Overfishing
  • Increased dependence on cash crops or natural resources
  • Heightened spread of diseases
  • Overpopulation

1. Increased greenhouse gases

Globalization opens up new markets. This means that raw materials and products have to travel farther than before when goods were produced and consumed locally.

This involves transport by ships, cargo planes, rail, and by road.

This increased transport impacts the environment by emitting more greenhouse gases.

These carbon gases increase pollution significantly, cause climate change, acidification of the ocean, and causes acid rain which has dangerous effects.

According to a survey conducted by the International Move Forum, ships convey almost 70% of all cargo.

The frequency of this means of transportation to meet up with the demands of globalization means a large amount of contamination from oil spills or leaks. Harming the marine ecosystem.

These activities lead to environmental degradation. It affects biodiversity, global warming, acidification of the oceans, and acid rain globally.

Globalization has enabled certain governments to give attention to the various energy products available to them, such as coal, lithium, oil, natural gas, timber, and many more.

These energy sources contribute to the effects of globalization on the environment. They release greenhouse gases into the environment, influencing climate change and global warming.

2. Deforestation

Deforestation is one of the major effects of globalization on the environment.

The transportation demands that the road be cleared for mobility. Facilities such as roads, railways, and bridges have to be built. Airports have to be built for human travel too.

This lead to deforestation especially as sometimes it is done illegally like the illegal deforestation in Brazil is due to an increase in the country’s cattle ranching operations, which requires significant land for grazing.

Deforestation also affects Indonesia. The benefits of forests are lost and this leads to habitat destruction or loss.

3. Invasive species:

An invasive species is an organism that has the potential to harm its new environment or habitat.

The list of effects of globalization on the environment cannot be complete without this.

The mobility that accompanies globalization makes every delivery or cargo a potential home for a living organism. It could be a plant, fungus, or animal.

It can become invasive because the new ecosystem isn’t prepared to put checks on the organic capacity of such organisms.

4. Overfishing

An increase in the markets or an increase in demand for fish can lead to overfishing. One popular example is Southeast Asia. This includes countries such as Ukraine, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

It is reported that these regions are now experiencing diminished fish populations from the sheer magnitude of fishing and harmful fishing practices such as ghost fishing, blast fishing, poison fishing, and bottom trawling.

5. Increased dependence on cash crops and natural resources

There is a high possibility of having increased dependence on cash crops such as cotton, rice, wheat sugarcane, cocoa, coconut palms, and fruits and vegetables.

Governments that rely significantly on some particular crops, natural resources, or energy products to fund their government finances are more likely to under-utilize other aspects of their economy, lacking diversification.

6. Heighten the spread of disease

The coronavirus in 2020 and 2021 was one of the fastest-spread diseases in history.

One of the effects of globalization is the increase in the likelihood of pandemics. The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak of 2009, the ebola flu of 2014, and the coronavirus in 2020 and 2021 are some examples of diseases that spread to multiple nations quickly.

7. Overpopulation

One of the effects of globalization on the environment is overpopulation. Fast means of transportation have brought lands closer and people can travel and migrate more easily. The ease of travel regulations by governments also contributed to this.

For example, New York city is densely populated with people from virtually every nation when the New York port took over most of America’s shipping and immigration and it became a major manufacturing city to meet up with globalization demands.

It also leads to unplanned urbanization and pollution as can be seen in Lagos, Nigeria, and waste mismanagement.

Solution Proposal for the Effects of Globalization


1. Implementation of laws and regulations

Governments and regulating bodies should implement laws and regulations that limit the negative effects of globalization.

2. Investing in renewable energy

When nations realize the value of energy products like oil, coal, and natural gas, they tend to over-depend on them. Investing in renewable energy sustains the earth.

3. Investing in renewable packaging

Nylons have become one of the fastest-growing pollutants in the environment. They pollute both the land and the marine ecosystems and are non-degradable. Environmentally-friendly alternatives and degradable packaging should be invested in to limit the effects of globalization on the environment.

4. Embracing responsible land-use management

A great example of this is China. China has been actively engaging in globalization since the end of the 1970s.

Therefore, because of the large increases in manufacturing output, a range of environmental problems have emanated and land degradation is serious and widespread.

Reforms were commenced in the late 1970s. Land in China is the property of either the state or the communes.

Individual land users have to enter into contracts with communes for the right to use a given piece of land for a fixed period, usually 30 years, and to benefit from any profit made from that land,  with regulations.

Many degraded lands have been rehabilitated and compensations are required for degraded lands.

5. Reducing central production sites

Distributing the production sites of goods to shift the production closer to the end customer should be considered by people, companies, organizations, and governments.

This will reduce the amount of greenhouse concentration in a place and also reduce the emission of carbon into the environment reducing ozone depletion and global warming.


When you looked at all the effects of globalization, you must have realized that globalization is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Globalization has allowed the world to enjoy many benefits, including increased reduced risk of global conflict, and improved economic status.

Unfortunately, it also led to negative effects on the environment such as increased greenhouse gases, deforestation, and increased dependence on cash crops or natural resources among other effects.

Effects of Globalization on the Environment – FAQs

What is globalization?

Globalization is the connection and integration of different people, cultures, and governments worldwide. It can be economic as in international trade, political as in United Nations, and cultural globalization as in the adoption of foreign music.

How has globalization affected our lives?

Some effects of globalization on us includes improved socialization, expanded knowledge, decreased cost of manufacturing, lower priced goods to consumers, an improvement on our standard of living, international peace, increase in employment and unemployment, environmental pollution, cybercrime, deforestation, and overpopulation.


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