I believe there is a basic conflict between the way our economy is organized and the need to protect the environment.
An interesting perspective is given in this article about the conflict in Rwanda. Here the resources needed to maintain the poor people are rather basic – firewood and wetlands. It may be that environmental degradation is more of a short-term concern than it is for us in industrial countries.
For us the short-term concern is to keep our jobs and maintain a standard of living. For most of us most of the time short-term priorities win over long-term priorities.
The solution to this economic and environment conflict is the deal with over population and to reorganize our economy. One way we could rearrange our economy is suggested in my essay “LETS go to market: dealing with the economic crisis” which is here.