The environment seems to be in the news daily. Learn the latest information concerning any environmental topic that you need researched. Whether it is global warming or environmental science, our writers will compose a research project that is written exactly as you dictate.
At its most basic level, it is the totality surrounding an organism or population, including those factors that have direct or indirect influence on the survival or evolution of an organism. The environment can consist of the entirety of the world, or be subdivided according to attribute. Thus, scientists can discuss any of the following:
- Marine environment
- Desert environment
- Atmospheric environment
The natural environment is that which encompasses all living things on Earth. The environment is composed of various elements including climate, weather, natural resources, plants, and animals. Under this definition, the term environment becomes synonymous with habitat. Therefore scientists may discuss the natural resources of elephants or sea urchins.
However, when the term environment appears in the news, it generally concerns the changes to the planet that have been the result of human activity. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the burning of carbon has dramatically changed the Earth's environment, leading to climate change, or global warming, as it is popularly known. However, this transformation of the environment threatens the extinction of the human race. Efforts to reduce carbon emissions have been stymied by politicians around the globe. The environment, as we currently know it, is changing rapidly and uncontrollably.
The Environment and Environmentalism
But what exactly is environmentalism? According to Pepper, environmentalists often say that the heart of the world's problems of pollution, resource depletion and environmental deterioration is the domineering and exploitative nature of man. Western culture is thought to have an especially pernicious influence on this cycle because Western tradition holds that nature is an instrument to be used for material gain. Pepper argues that this attitude can be supported because Westerners see themselves as separate from nature, a view that is inherent in science and technology. Pepper writes:
Wasteful consumerism is now the false god against which we measure both individual and social 'progress.' Our spiritual, emotional, artistic, loving and cooperative sides are neglected for this cold materialism, which overplays the role of rationality, 'hard facts' and calculating economic utilitarianism in deciding what is good or bad.
Environmentalists seek to repair this view by changing the way that people look at nature. In essence, environmentalism is a philosophy that embodies the ancient beliefs of the Native Americans; we are not separate from our environment, rather we are an integral part of the world. The view of the environmentalist is analogous to the philosophy of the Plains People who seek to repair the "broken circle."
Native Americans actively employ the idea that when the natural cycle of nature is disturbed it must be repaired in order to continue the circle of Creation. Environmentalists have shared this vision in creating, what they believe to be, the basic principles of ecology. These principles are the impetus for, what the Native Americans would classify as, healing the breach of nature and finding balance between man and his environment. These principles include:
- The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes.
- Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
- Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs
- The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of non-human life requires such a decrease.
- Present interference with the non-human world is excessive and the situation is rapidly worsening.
- Policies must therefore be changed. This polices affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
- The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living.
- Those who ascribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.
These principles closely correlate the Native American principles of obligation. As noted above, Native Americans strongly believe that every person has an obligation to abide by the laws of nature and protect what is sacred.
This deep commitment to nature and a belief that nature must ultimately preserved for man to survive is the driving force behind the environmentalist movement. This movement has become a worldwide phenomenon as environmental groups have become one of the key players in directing public policies regarding the use of the environment. For instance, one particular branch of environmentalists, "the toxics movement" was designed to the development of new hazardous waste landfills and incinerators. Its overarching concern was the reduction of pollution caused by hazardous material. Individuals who participate in this movement sought to combat life- and health-threatening forms of waste and pollution that were dumped on people without their consent and often without their knowledge. The end result was the development of more stringent policies for hazardous waste disposal and stricter disclosure laws.