Response to Prompt 1 Peace

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I disagree with Ausubel more. If everyone could get the necessary items to survive there would be much more peace in the world. People wouldn’t have to worry and do unthinkable things to save their young. It is well-known how willing mothers are to take drastic measures when their children are endangered. The war in the Middle East is at least partially about the oil supply located in that region. Tribes in Africa often go to war over areas of water. Even if there was a surplus of necessities, however, I still think there would be wars. It seems to me as if it’s human nature to fight. War causes environmental stress as well. If the United States’ didn’t spend a large sum of their money on their military, it could be spent on research and improvement of green energy.

I think compromise and forgiveness are more useful tools because interconnectedness is a stretch. Many people would have a hard time feeling connected and the peace may be easily lost if the war ended due to this. In a sense, it reminds me of Buddha’s teachings. Considering it took Siddhartha nearly a lifetime to find inner peace, a war could last the lifetime it takes the leaders to find inner peace. This is especially significant because Siddhartha was actually looking for peace while these war leaders are shielding themselves from any such ideas. Compromise is a much simpler term for the warring nations to consider.

I doubt that stubborn men are willing to put aside century’s worth of feuds but it’s worth trying. The common goal is significant enough to make an impact on their feud. The environment is important for their future generations. I think the Iroquois Peacemaker would absolutely promote peace parks. The Iroquois Peacemaker would appreciate the back to nature area and peace. Considering the current wars, I think peace is extremely vital asset to saving the environment. Once the news can stop broadcasting about wars, they can promote the green movement and the new ideas coming about. Compromise will move us forward much faster than a standoff will. An active discussion would allow for an equal allocation and better conservation of oil, water, and land.

http://jah.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/1/208.full

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au12z6UK0tk

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/

Response to Prompt 3- Socialism and Capitalism

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Social, environmental, and economic goals are so intertwined that no one is more important or attainable without a focus on the other two. This balance should be the goal standard by which all policies and legislation should strive to achieve. I believe that this goal is best achieved by strictly regulating environmental standards and social justice while allowing the free market competition which strives for efficiency. All three of these aims would have different final interpretations if taken individually than the result when all three are combined. A world based fully on environmental principles would be so biocentric to the point of being socially unjust and economically inefficient, just as a world based fully on social justice would be environmentally unsound and poorly functioning economically. As we already know, a world based completely on maximizing monetary efficiency, like the one we currently live in, is bad for the environment and unfairly secludes certain people due to their socioeconomic status.

In an ideal world I think that the federal and state governments should work at a strictly regulatory level, based on ethical principles. The government should work to ensure that free market companies fully uphold the stringent environmental standards necessary to ensure the sustainability of our limited resources. These standards in combination with practices that support the distribution of wealth within our society would work toward all three goals of environmental, social, and economic health. Like we saw in the talk by Hans Rosling, even wealth distribution is critical to the overall happiness and wellbeing of societies, including our global society. Regulating for strict environmental goals as well as maintaining effective social programs like healthcare and food support while allowing the free market to work for efficiency would balance all of the facets of a sustainable society. With the government serving strictly as an ethical regulatory agency and allowing traditional “capitalistic” business to operate within socially and environmentally healthy constraints I believe that all of these goals can be achieved without any of them becoming the top priority.

Last Blog: Acknowledgement and Remorse

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Widespread acknowledgement of the way that human actions have influenced the natural environment is necessary in order for the way that we treat the environment to change, in my opinion. The acknowledgement of our actions will generate a sense of remorse among a majority of our population; however, there will still be individuals that choose to view the earth as a source for human consumption and exploitation. We live in a culture that has fewer small-scale, localized organizations and corporations than large-scale ones, which monopolize and control a majority of the resources and factors that contribute to our way of life. A majority of the individuals associated with these types of large-scale behaviors are often more concerned with making an economic profit than protecting the health of the environment, thereby, inhibiting the acceleration of the environmental movement. If these types of organizations were broken down into small-scale ones that were more localized and affluent within their communities, I believe the movement would gain more momentum.

The dismantling of the large-scale sector will allow for the movement to gain momentum through an increase in supporters whom now understand the true consequences of their actions on the environment due to an increase in public knowledge and discussion. In order to protect our species from extinction, it is important to increase the sustainability of our actions. In reality, our ways of life will never resort to anything that is less than what they currently are. However, through small changes in our everyday life, as a group, we can make a large change. For example; if everyone walked, biked, or road the bus to work once a week, the amount of carbon emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere would be enormous as a whole. The sharing and exchange of resources causes the amount of waste to decrease, as well as the pollution that is produced through the manufacturing of new resources. Local gardens in agriculturally productive regions are easily maintained with a little basic knowledge and experience, especially, if it is shared amongst a few families that all contribute to it. This not only decreases the amount of food purchased through an outside source, but also increases the nutrient levels of the soil. Overall, one of the most important factors that will contribute to the survival of our species is the uniting of localized individuals into groups that will protect and assist one another. These small-scale localized population groups, however, must also communicate on a large scale with other global nations in order to save the planet. Along with future generations learning from our mistakes and continuing to search for more sustainable ways of life.

 

Final week: Prompt 2 Climate Change

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I would largely agree that the climate issue is a political issue, as well as an economic issue. Not only does our current political system fail to take the issue seriously but the political system is deeply involved with the economic sector of society. As a result we have two large and powerful systems that would rather ignore environmental issues than fix them. The government is supposed to look after the best interests of the people and the government has persuaded us that the economic success of large companies is whats best for us. Increasing investment in new technologies and science can greatly reduce our impact and education may help change the social mindset but unless there is a fundamental change in the way the environment is perceived then it will always be subject to the power our government has given the economy. This is part of the reason that global initiatives fail. Instead of taking responsibility we are willing to continue harmful practices so other countries do not get an advantage. I think part of the solution is to make new technologies and environmentalism economically beneficial. Personally I believe its too difficult to suddenly uproot our current love affair with our established systems so the best route would be to show how the environment and sustainable practices can improve the economy when used responsibly and can hurt the economy when used incorrectly. And there does seem to be some promise that new persuasive techniques like this are in the works, using the economy to explain why change is needed. Hopefully as education increases on the issue we can change our political system works, possibly decentralize it or simply reorganize the power and decision making structures. As for the dichotomy between government and technology I would argue that no such separation exists, the government dose not fail to take into account technology it just rather promote old rather than new technologies because those in political power are the same people in charge of the old systems. In regards to if this needs to change the answer is most definitely.

Last round, response to climate change

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While it may be obvious to most that humans are responsible for widespread
environmental degradation, some still deny this. I think the first and most
important step in stopping environmental degradation and climate change is
admitting our wrong doings. If the major polluters and habitat destroyers
continue to do what they do in the name of progress and growth then our
environmental issues will only compound until people are forced to realize that
when we hurt the environment, we are also inflicting harm on ourselves. I do
not think it is as important, necessarily that people feel guilty about their
wrongdoings so much as they change their behaviours.  I would have to agree the best way to do this is transitioning to a society that is smaller scaled in structure, and that
promotes diversity and sustainability. I think it would be feasible for our
federal government to allow for smaller municipalities (counties, cities, etc)
to make their own decisions on land and resource use/management in order to
foster sustainability. Who better to make the decisions about land and resource
use than the local people living around them that have knowledge of the areas?
I think life outside of big businesses and big government that we have become
accustomed too is more than feasible, but until they are broken down, reform
must be utilized to work within the confines of the system and evoke positive
change. If environmental legislation doesn’t begin curbing climate change soon,
it may be too late.

Last Round, Prompt 2: Climate Change

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I agree with Ausubel that failures to mitigate climate change are largely due to crises of government. So far, the U.S. has not been setting the best example as a leading world power buy not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Even though we have the science and technology available to make renewable energy affordable, the politics involved are preventing it from being accessible and implementable on a large scale. Renewable energy options, such as wind turbines and solar panels are only concentrated in certain areas and regions because we do not view them as economically feasible even though they are more sustainable in the long-term. We are still heavily reliant on fossil fuels that we see as cheaper, even though the price does not accurately reflect the cost to society.

Ausubel says, “Cleaning up politics will clean up the environment.” This quote reminded me of the “Homo Ecologicus” reading from earlier in the semester, which criticized existing liberal democratic institutions in failing to handle environmental problems due factors such as short election timespans, opposing special interests, and partisanship. However, Ausubel gave the example of California as an “energy success story,” which can be used as a source for optimism when talking about the failures of governing institutions: 

As the world’s eighth largest economy, the Golden State instituted a    succession of policy innovations such that it now emits about half as much carbon per dollar of economic activity as the rest of the country. It’s first among the states in promoting energy efficiency. The result has been savings of $ 56 billion for customers, while obviating the need for twenty-four new   large-scale power plants. The gains are so impressive that its rules have been adopted by other states and into federal standards.

Therefore, I think it is possible for resolutions for climate change to fit into a dichotomy between government and technology. Maybe California is proof that ecological modernization is achievable and hopefully it can help change the rest of the country’s mindset and then convince the rest of the world that economic growth without environmental degradation can occur. 

Response to Blog Prompt Water Scarcity

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There are water issues all across the world that are getting worse each and every day. If there isn’t a solution to the lack of drinking water, then the world is in danger of surviving. In my opinion, I think part of the answer lies in technology. We can perfect desalinization plants to be more efficient and less costly so we can turn the ocean’s water into usable water for countries throughout the world. This process can be costly though, which is why it isn’t a great option. I think education will also play a role. People throughout the world need to be educated on how scarce of a resource water truly is. Rachel Carson wrote a book about the springs drying up in Florida. People aren’t aware that this is happening. I think once people become more aware and knowledgeable about the situation we are facing, they will stop taking water for granted. 

I think the approach for tackling water scarcity is different for underdeveloped countries verses developed countries because the problem with water is different in each. The issue with water in underdeveloped countries is that there isn’t enough clean water for them to use, where as in developed countries there’s more clean water available, however, people take advantage of this and often waste water causing there to be shortages. If policy, such as the Clean Water Act, was used in developing countries to make a standard for the water people drink I feel it will only be beneficial for the country and the world.