Environment and Society Part 2

Chapter 9: Carbon Dioxide

I found it interesting that this chapter touched on the fact that not only do cars release large amounts of carbon dioxide, they also have a significant amount of carbon involved in their production that isn’t taken into account. As someone who has worked in the automotive industry, I’ve thought about and seen what all goes into building each of the billions of cars that are driven each day, but never in regards to the carbon emissions or carbon footprint of each car. Is it possible to point fingers at the automotive industry, or does it fall under the umbrella of industrial production that has done so much to damage our environment and cause atmospheric problems viz greenhouse gas emissions?


Chapter 10: Trees

I think that it was smart of the authors to put trees right next to carbon dioxide in the book. I think that the cartoon above says it all, developed countries rely on the trees to act as a counterbalance to the damage they are doing via greenhouse gases. At the same time, however, they are involved in the deforestation for industrial or agricultural purposes, that will in turn cause more damaging effects. It is a never-ending cycle that has no hope of changing unless cause and effects are re-examined. At the same time, it has to be realized that trees aren’t going to magically solve all of the issues that we are causing to the environment and the atmosphere.


Chapter 11: Wolves

This cartoon reminds me of the reintroduction of the wolves into Yellowstone that the book mentioned, and if I recall, it also mentioned the Northwest. I admit that I know little about wolves, even after reading this chapter, but I’m skeptical of the immediate and lasting negative impact or threat that wolves place that make so many people against them. I admit that where I grew up, I never had to really think about wolves, but we did have coyotes. It was never something that was really much of a concern to my family, but putting myself in the place of someone with livestock that would be in danger, I would like to think that I would be able to find a more humane way of getting rid of the problem than killing a wolf. But, that’s just me. I’m hoping that the reintroduction and conservation of wolves will not have detrimental effects on society or the environment.


Chapter 12: Tuna

“Green consumer campaigns have successfully re-regulated tuna production through ‘dolphin safe’ labeling, suggesting that through markets, consumer advocacy can move corporations to ‘do the right thing.'” This statement just kind of makes me laugh. I think it’s funny that people think that consumers will be able to make multi-billion dollar companies change their ways because of their actions. I don’t think it will happen. Yeah, maybe consumers will only buy tuna that is certified “dolphin safe” but what is the likelihood that it is actually what it is labeled to be? Or is it more likely that they have just changed their packaging and standards in an effort to make the consumers happy without making actual changes?


Chapter 13: Bottled Water

The chapter says “the production, packaging, and transportation of water in a bottle means that it is not an environmentally benign way to get and consume water.” Recently there have been campaigns to shift from disposable water bottles to reusable ones, which has achieved mild success. However, the usage of “disposable” water bottles is still very prevalent in today’s society, and until that changes, water bottle production and consumption will continue to negatively impact the environment. Yes, water is a necessity, and in today’s world it is usually simpler to just grab a bottle of water on your way to where you are going, however what most people fail to consider is how much work goes into making each bottle that they carelessly grab. The cartoon I chose is poignant because though those water bottles at the Earth Day celebration are likely to get recycled, realistically they are causing more harm than good. Until people are made to understand just how much water bottles are negatively impacting the environment, and even after in all actuality, there will be no changes made.


Chapter 14: French Fries

Well, I think that this cartoon says it all when it comes to American society in regards to fast food. We’ve moved thinking about what is healthy and instead think of what is the most convenient. This chapter’s look at the political and economic framework shows that french fry consumption isn’t always just an individual choice. However, even though it is inexplicably linked to global consumption and production trends, I still like to place the blame on the individuals that choose to buy the fries. People have free will, even when being influenced by catchy commercials and advertisements, and if they exercise their free will, they can avoid consuming fries, or anything else really.

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