Reflection “Environment and Society”

This book was very different than all the others, not necessarily in a good or bad way.  Reading a text book definitely had its pros, such as concise and clear facts and ideas.  The cons were that we had to read a text book… It is more enjoyable to read a book from the authors perspective. Getting to know an author through reading their ideas has gives a personal connection almost, that a text book could never do.  The structure was very easy to read, my favorite thing about the book was all of the keywords at the beginning of the chapters.  It was also cool to see some things I’ve learned from other classes to connect with the book such as Coase theorem and the Kuznets curve.

Again this book brings the ideas of Nature and Wilderness, having its own definition that is yet similar to many of the other texts we have read.  Nature is apart from all human interactions and activity, while wilderness is land unaffected by humans.

Population is another interesting topic that is talked about. “A Crowded Desert City” made me think about Ed Abbeys book and his thoughts on placing a city where there should be no city.  Logically, why would anyone start a city in the desert where there is no water.  Phoenix is growing exponentially and the water scarce land won’t be able to provide for all the inhabitants.

Markets and Commodities was interesting… I am pro Cap and Trade, it has shown success in decreasing pollution without radically altering business.  But this is turning pollution into a commodity and giving firms the “right” to pollute.  It was also intriguing to apply the Coase Theorem to environmental issues, it is all about bargaining and making contracts.  But it only applies when property rights are assigned, no one has property rights on the air.  Also when there are more than two parties involved it becomes difficult to negotiate, so there are limitations on the theorem.

Environmental ethics brought up a lot of information and points that reminded me of Eating Animals.  Could environmental ethics be used to protect animals from being manufactured and slaughtered in factory farms?

E-waste was also a cool topic, turning an externality into a commodity by recycling electronics could be a huge change for waste problems and resource scarcity problems.  Precious metals are becoming more and more expensive to mine, recycling metals from used electronics just makes sense.

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