Module #9 Response PaperThe COVID-19 pandemic distorted large sectors of the world’s global economy. The inequities of vaccine distribution domestically and internationally is compounding many of the underlying weaknesses of the gloable economy. This has prompted many to offer dire predicitons about the availability of low-wage, non-tech jobs in a post-pandemic world. However, the accuracy of such predictions often rests upon understanding the facilitating social practices. In this paper, you are asked to consider how the operations of global capitalism, as reviewed in previous modules and as described in chapter eight, has actually served to continue the pandemic, rather than to halt it. (Please note: This is an expansive topic, so feel free to limit your discussion to the two or three aspects that you consider to be most important.) Your response is due by April 18th.
Module #9 Response PaperThe COVID-19 pandemic distorted large sectors of the world’s global economy. The inequities of vaccine distribution domestically and internationally is compounding many of the
Threats to the Environment “Consuming the Environment” Introduction: As it the case with famine, most environmental problems are social in origin Environmental problems have global consequences Thus, the human species in its entirety is at risk There are many Global Social forces that disturb the ecosystem: Population increase, at least from a Malthusian analytic perspective The increased consumption of food, energy, minerals, water, and other resources associated with a globalizing middle class and the revolution of rising expectations. The acceptance of socioeconomic stratification and the blinders inherent to . The perceived need for overall economic growth necessary to sustain the culture of capitalism Types of Environmental Effects: Soil Degradation The loss of arable land to various development projects such as suburbs. Desertification. Habitat Destruction (Degradation), Habitat Loss, Habitat Fragmentation Species Loss and Species Extinction Deforestation (worldwide, not just in the Tropics) Diminished health and livelihoods Environmental Pollution and Degradation Chemical pollution–Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Dioxide, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Particulates, Nitrogen Oxides, Ozone, Chlorofluorocarbons, Unburned Hydrocarbons and Lead and Heavy metals. Solid waste pollution—Municipal Solid Waste, Hazardous Wastes, Industrial Wastes, Agricultural Wastes, and Bio-medical Wastes, Water pollution Point-source – single source of direct pollution such as from a factory Non-point source – difficult to identify exact origin as it has a multitude of potential sources. An example would be the pollution of ground water from farmland and lawn fertilizers, pesticides and so forth. (BTW – there are more acres of land under grass cultivation than any other single “crop.”) Trans-boundary pollution – is pollution that originates in one source region but has effects on other regions and countries. An example is the 2011 explosion and meltdown at the Fukishima nuclear power plant that continues to effect countries throughout and surrounding the Pacific Ocean. A domestic example is the “acid rain” that is generated from the emissions spewed from fossil fuel-fired power plants in the Midwest, but land in Canada. Surface or Ground Water pollution is straightforward enough, although it is not often recognized that pastured livestock can contaminate shallow groundwater with veterinary pharmaceuticals and steroid hormones. Radiation pollution – from nuclear power plants to hospital radiation waste Air pollution Outdoor air pollution involves exposures that take place outside of the built environment. Examples include: Fine particles produced by the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. the coal and petroleum used in energy production) Noxious gases (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, chemical vapors, etc.) Indoor air pollution involves exposures to particulates, carbon oxides, and other pollutants carried by indoor air or dust. Examples include: Gases (carbon monoxide, radon, etc.) Household products and chemicals Building materials (asbestos, formaldehyde, lead, and others) Outdoor indoor allergens (cockroach and mouse dropping, etc.) Tobacco smoke Mold and pollen Environmental Racism, both of an enduring and critical character Waste is often disposed by and near the poor or minorities. Poor communities and communities of color are often located adjacent to toxic industries such as petrochemical plants, refineries, factories, agribusinesses and so forth (see, e.g., “Cancer Alley” in Louisiana) The effects have a disproportionate impact on poorer communities and communities of color. Some recent examples domestic examples include Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina, the contaminated water supply in Flint Michigan, hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, and so forth in the U.S. Internationally, environmental racism is a feature of practically anywhere in low-income, peripheral countries. Environmental racism is so entrenched, that is social legacy, passed down from one generation to the next. The Global Facilitating Practices include: Use of Fossil Fuels, Waste Production, and Environmental Degradation Greenhouse Gases Global Warming Potentials–How much? How long? How strong? Carbon Dioxide is the standard reference Terminology—Is it “Global Warming” or “Climate Change?” Or might it actually be “Global Humidification? (see article for further information)” See Our World in Data Detailed article on Global emissions Sources of U.S. Environmental Problems The Cultural Sources have been discussed in previous modules. To recap they include: Popular Cornucopian view Faith in technology Growth ethic Materialism and planned obsolescence Belief in Individualism Structural Sources have also been considered, but to be consistent, they include: Capitalism The political beliefs, practices, and systems Patterns in Population Geography with poor communities and communities of color living close to environmental hazards. The Implicit acceptance of the current system of socioeconomic stratification and environmental classism Proposed Solutions: The pro-capitalist laissez-faire “invisible hand of the marketplace” Rational resource utilization, management, conservation, and sustainability Ethics of Social and Environmental Justice Social Movement— equitable distribution of social good, minimization of threats, reduction and reallocation of risks. Promoting practice alternatives–“green” spaces, “green” lifestyles, recycling, acting locally, and so forth. Adoption of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Decentralized production systems –“locally sourced” foodstuffs and products, home gardening, and the farm to table movement. International agreements such as the voluntary Paris Climate Agreement (2015), the binding EU Parliament’s single-use plastics ban (2018), and the successful Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (1987).
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