Competition between nations drives this century. Every country is constantly trying to create the most advanced technology before another country creates it. The environmental degradation that results due to these developments is not a priority for most countries. Violence and industrial warfare are results of this competition. For this reason, I agree with Ausbel’s belief that industrial warfare leads to environmental degradation. Nevertheless, environmental stresses will lead to water wars and agricultural wars in the future.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings and complex processes is essential to developing an environmental ethic as well as creating peace in our world. We must understand that we need animals and microorganisms to survive, the same way that developing countries need to export to other countries to keep their economic standing. By recognizing our relationship with nature as well as our connection to all other humans, feelings of compromise and forgiveness will develop on their own. Therefore, I believe that the role of interconnectedness in our world is the most effective tool to create peace and harmony.
Humans have the tendency to be selfish. Having different goals, therefore, does not encourage them to work together and create peace. I do believe peace plays a significant role in saving our environment because it creates unity between everyone, which will in turn allow us to work towards a common goal. By recognizing that we are all interconnected, like the Iroquois Peacemaker stated, feelings of empathy as well as a desire to help others develop. This will allow us to work together to save our environment and all things dependent on it.
Reducing consumption is a continuous obstacle in both developed and developing nations, but for different reasons. While developed nations are afraid to move backwards in living standards by reducing consumption, developing nations are simply worried about surviving if they must reduce consumption. The real question we must ask ourselves as members of developed nations is, “do we really need something new or are we satisfied?”
The problem, however, still remains because the idea of being “satisfied” is different for every person. Nevertheless, a society of collaborative consumption, which consists of sharing products, can help reduce consumerism as well as build community in society. For instance, giving a leather jacket to someone on a night they would like to wear it would eliminate the need for two leather jackets for those individuals, reducing the production of leather, which leads to environmental degradation. This sharing would lead to a feeling of satisfaction combined with caring for the environment and its people. Collaborative consumption is therefore an effective tool in developed nations because it reduces consumption and changes people’s perception of their actions toward the environment and other individuals.
It is impossible to stabilize population in developing countries through the reduction of consumption because their living standards are already below a healthy level of wellbeing. In many developing nations, individuals are currently consuming fewer than two dollars a day. An effective way of stabilize population in developing nations would be to increase “green” consumption, including an efficient use of energy, reusing, and recycling. “Green” consumption would be cost-effective, since fewer products will be bought and less energy will be spent, as well as healthier since “green” products (such as organic foods) have been proven to provide health benefits.
I do not believe technological advances and economics are the causes of the disconnect between the influence of religion and how land is treated. Humans have the ability to manipulate belief systems in order to relate to present circumstances. For example, one law in Judaism states that one cannot drive on the Sabbath. However, when this law was created, cars did not exist. This demonstrates how humans have extended the original belief system to incorporate current situations. This is true for current ways of treating the land as well. Do to humans’ hunger for wealth and prosperity, technological advances and economics have been transformed into utilitarian ways of viewing and treating the land. These methods are not necessarily how religion originally portrayed them. Throughout history, Christian dominated countries did not impact community development due to their hunger for power.
Placing a lesser focus on economic well-being would allow individuals to focus on what they need and what is available to them in the natural world. It is important for the government, NGOs, and corporations to realize that it may be more beneficial to spend money on healthy environments rather than economic wealth, which may lead to future disappointments in the long run.
The idea that a shift in policy towards a more pro-environment approach would lead to economic downfall is prominent in developed countries. Berliner supports the belief that environmentalists completely disregard human interests and seek to sacrifice human needs and desires to help the environment. I agree with the prompt in the awareness that there are individuals in this world who truly believe environmentalism supports this.
As an environmentalist myself, I disagree with Berliner because I believe that technology and continued advancement in countries can unite with ecofriendly approaches to achieve effective policy. What many people do not realize is that saving energy and adopting environmentally friendly practices is actually more economically feasible. The role of sustainable education therefore sets out to teach this notion. The world has the capacity to rely on wind power, solar energy, and other forms of energy rather than the burning of fossil fuels, which results in much of the global warming in our atmosphere. As these other forms of energy become cheaper and easier to obtain, they will take the place of coal (the leading form of energy in our nation currently). Coal will always be there as a backup in case we can no longer afford other forms of energy. Nevertheless, a consensus between economic and environmentally friendly policy can always be obtained so that neither sector suffers.
As consumerism increases in developed nations, more waste is created. The dilemma of where to throw this toxic waste is constantly being debated. In modern society, the location of waste disposal seems to be near areas where the poor live. Peter Wenz believes this is environmental racism because individuals who live in poor areas, generally people of color and racial minorities, are exposed to disproportionate portions of toxic wastes. Congress, however, has implemented the Superfund law in 1986 to create relationships with communities so that they can have an opportunity to contribute to the cleanup process of waste disposal sites. Do you agree with Wenz’s belief of environmental racism, where we are placing our burden of toxic waste on the poor? If not, why do you believe poor communities tend to be located next to hazardous waste sites?
Another aspect of environmental racism articulated in Earthcare is the idea that developed countries ship their toxic wastes to lesser developed countries. This creates a disregard for the safety of poor individuals living in these countries. One case occurred in Nigeria, where workers storing drums in bins for retransportation suffered chemical burns. Prohibiting these shipments would require developing countries to deal with the wastes they generate. What do you think should be done about the waste that is generally shipped to developing countries?
Americans criticize the United States government on a daily basis on whether or not progress is being made in all areas of government. Even individuals who voted for Obama in the hopes of achieving his notion of “change” and “forward” dispute many of the policies that have come about during his presidency. What people do not realize is that progress, including environmental policy, has been made throughout Obama’s presidency. According to Obama’s Climate of Action Plan, in 2012, “Carbon emissions from the energy sector fell to the lowest level in two decades.” The problem is that people do not believe what they cannot see.
The same way that humans do not trust what they cannot physically see, people are afraid to take risks when they are not sure of the consequences that these actions may bring. In one of our readings, Colin Hay states, “One is that short electoral timespans significantly disadvantage ecological imperatives.” Presidents focus on issues that they will be credited for during their presidency. Environmental problems, however, tend to be resolved in longer periods of time. Politicians use the precautionary principle when they make decisions for our country (especially because of the economic loss that may result from unfavorable decisions). Since we are not sure of the consequences that may arise from actions taken to help the environment, politicians tend to refrain from making these choices. However, would this be considered avoiding precaution since we know the consequences of NOT taking these actions? Obama’s plan of action for long term goals seems to coincide with this perspective.