Why do we have environmental laws?

The purpose of our environmental laws is to maintain or create conditions that are conducive to a harmonious relationship between man and nature. Environmental laws protect nature and the environment from degradation while taking into account people’s needs and general welfare. Sections 1 and 2 of the Presidential Decree No. 1151, otherwise known as the Philippine Environmental Policy, embody the purpose of our environmental laws:
SECTION 1. Policy.-It is hereby declared a continuing policy of the State (a) to create, develop, maintain and improve conditions under which man and nature can thrive in productive and enjoyable harmony with each other, (b) to fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations of Filipinos, and (c) to insure the attainment of an environmental quality that is conducive to a life of dignity and well-being.

SEC. 2. Goal.-In pursuing this policy, it shall be the responsibility of the Government, in cooperation with concerned private organizations and entities, to use all practicable means, consistent with other essential considerations of national policy, in promoting the general welfare to the end that the Nation may (a) recognize, discharge and fulfill the responsibilities of each generation as trustee and guardian of the environment for succeeding generations, (b) assure the people of a safe, decent, healthful, productive and aesthetic environment, (c) encourage the widest exploitation of the environment without degrading it, or endangering human life, health and safety or creating conditions adverse to agriculture, commerce and industry, (d) preserve important historic and cultural aspects of the Philippine heritage, (e) attain a rational and orderly balance between population and resource use, and (f) improve the utilization of renewable and non-renewable resources. 
This policy espouses the need for a balance between resource exploitation and environmental protection to promote the general welfare of the people. Environmental protection is a necessary means to increase the chances of the human species to subsist.