Environment and Society Part 2

For being a textbook, I really liked the writing style and the information presented. I appreciated the concepts being explained then applied to real world situations.

A part I found interesting was the possible environmental solution of returning to the way coffee was grown originally. Coffee is currently grown on plantations, which create single crop fields that have been deforested. This destroys native forest, flora, and animals. Deforestation is also harmful to the soil quality because it loses nutrients and structure over time. Instead of this traditional method of farming, some are suggesting to the old method called Shade grown coffee. This is the growing coffee bushes and other crops throughout existing forests. This did result in lower production levels, but higher diversity of crops, flora, and fauna. Thus it is important for consumers to pay a premium price or spreading awareness in the government.

The forest transition theory was an interesting topic to me because it is saying that conservation of forests is counterproductive and the economy will fix the situation. I find this to be more of a risky theory because it is assuming that humans will be able to stop exploiting and learn control. That the forest will be able to regrow and thrive once again as soon as the development period is over. However the world is constantly changing and development will never truly stop. Also it takes many, many years for forest to regrow and become old growth. So I don’t believe this is a convincing theory.

The uranium chapter was interesting because it is this like blessing and curse. It’s interesting that we advocate for conserving the health of the environment, yet nuclear power could destroy the environment for the long term in seconds. It is a very risky element, but we care more about having everyday conveniences. Is it morally right to nuclear power as an energy source? Are we just believing “It won’t happen to us” thinking?

Once again the tuna puzzle brings up the ethical issue of what animals do we conserve and protect. Fish, like tuna, is normally not on the top of the list when thinking of endangered animals. However dolphins are, but that is because culturally we see dolphins as cute and smart. So animals who aren’t seen as smart in our eyes are okay to not protect?

I never realized how the appearance of lawns was so socially constructed. Ever since I was little and cut the lawn I just believed that lawns are supposed to be maintained that way. My family is not the lawn Nazi type, as other neighbors, so we considered ourselves less neighborly compared to the guy with the pristine lawn across the street. When I was younger I really wanted to start a garden, so we created a makeshift garden in our backyard. Well, I found out gardens weren’t my thing so it became overgrown. Then we got an anonymous angry letter in the mail that stated we need to clean up our yard. It’d be an interesting experiment to see if we had more of a “natural” looking lawn would our neighbor be upset?


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