Ecologically Responsible Person Sociology Essay Sample
We Should Care About The Nature
I am firmly convinced that everyone should start from oneself to change something. I am an ecologically responsible person. I always try to reduce my own adverse influence on ecology and Earth to the minimum. The driving and the utilization of gasoline is not the exception. I try not to drive when possible and to do different things that will reduce the amount of gasoline used, such as changing air filter, changing spark plugs, etc. However, I still drive much as it is an irreplaceable thing in my life. Nevertheless, the issues that prevent me from reducing my driving habits now are some structural and cultural things. The distance to the institutes that I visit often or to the place where I usually meet my friends from my house is too big to refuse from driving there with the car. Besides, the culture and the society sometimes dictates us what to do. In today’s society, especially in the capitalistic Western countries, the status means much, and it is usually measured by the material things. It is difficult to be respectful without an automobile and while going to work on public transport. Additionally, it influences the amount of things we consume, in particular gasoline, which shows that we can afford it. Thus, the more gasoline we consume, the higher status we have.
I think that gasoline should rise to $4 per gallon to induce me to reduce my driving by a meaningful amount and maybe even to refuse from it completely. Such price of gasoline will make me spend all my money. Additionally, I believe it will induce a significant amount of consumers to adjust the amount and time of their driving. The reason is today’s economic conditions where people should economize much. Therefore, the reduced driving caused by the increased prices on gasoline will lower pollution as the number of cars will reduce, especially in the rush hours. Moreover, it will also reduce the number of auto accidents that result in people’s deaths.
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However, besides the price, there are also many things in the world that can influence my thought on this topic, and facilitate my decision to reduce the driving. First of all, it is the influence on environment. Nowadays, the price of fuel has fallen by 45% due to the new technology of natural gas extraction, called fracking (Smith and Patterson, 2012). However, fracking contaminates ground waters and causes earthquakes, which significantly harms the environment. Thus, in Ohio, numerous small earthquakes have occurred recently (Smith and Patterson, 2012). Besides, in the USA, 30% of natural resources are already consumed that also include natural gas (Story of stuff, 2007).
People consume more than is necessary to survive, therefore negatively influencing the planet. Additionally, one shouldn’t rely on the new technologies. Many people believe that the development of technology, which results in different inventions, can safe us. Nevertheless, it is not as it may seem from the first sight. For instance, people have just recently started thinking about using the energy of ocean. Nevertheless, it also has many adverse effects. It can influence sea mammals, tourism, and can be badly perceived by people. The costs incurred in such case cannot be covered. Moreover, the greater consumption of gasoline increases the inequality. In the lower developed countries, people are unable to pay for a greater amount of gasoline. Thus, the resources are taken from the whole common planet, but are consumed only by the rich. Besides, the poor are working hard to make the supplies of gasoline possible. We should also think about the poor. Thus, the understanding of the given facts can make it easier for me to reduce the frequency of my driving.
However, the total change in reducing the driving in the society will be possible when it is mandated. I can be personally aware of the adverse effects of driving, but everything is possible only when people start working together. I think that due to the human’s nature there should occur another energy crisis to make the changes take place.
Globalization is the process of a global society and a global human formation. Globalization provides integration of peoples and states in a single space. However, the impact of globalization on the world community is ambiguous. It leads to significant economic growth, but only a small number of countries benefit from it, while most countries are suffering from the consequences. Globalization creates an unstable world, in which transformations affect all spheres of social and individual life. It is the continuous process of creation and destruction.
In the global society problems are also global. The negative influences of globalization include the progressive increase of the gap in economic development between the most developed and underdeveloped countries globally, as well as within the separate states, including the most prosperous cities. Globalization promotes a massive concentration of capital in the most developed countries that dominate in the global economy. Nowadays, the United States, European countries, and Japan are one hundred times richer than Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nepal.
In the process of globalization, the trade is expanded and developed. Western countries force poor countries to eliminate trade barriers though retaining themselves, preventing developing countries from exporting their agricultural products. In such way, they deprive them of necessary export revenues and cause increasing poverty. Moreover, there is a reduction of agricultural subsidies and tariffs by rich countries that restrict access of producers from poor countries to their markets. Additionally, in the course of globalization, despite the reduction of poverty, the number of poor people increased largely due to population growth in the developing countries. Moreover, uneven development and concentration of wealth are among the other factors of globalization. However, due to the globalization India and China are now experiencing a rapid growth, therefore, lowering their level of poverty.
The poverty of underdeveloped countries is not their own problem. As a part of globalization, this problem is crucial for all the developed countries and is considered global. The gap between rich and poor countries and people cannot be overcome without a coordinated effort at all levels, from local to global. Moreover, the world poverty is a serious problem for the developed countries in another respect. Beggarly existence, lack of sanitation, the undermined health as a result of malnutrition make people of the poorest countries the victims of various infectious and epidemic diseases that also create dangerous threats for rich countries.
In the global world, the poverty is an active catalyst for worsening environmental problems. The poor country would try to ruthlessly exploit the environment. Moreover, it can also try to seize the resources of others necessary for survival by the force of arms.
The processes of globalization have a significant impact on both the environment and environmental policy. Thus, international trade can significantly worsen environmental health in cases when the environmental costs are not included in pricing. Those countries that ignore such costs, obtain comparative advantages in environmentally hazardous activities, often leading to the corresponding specialization and the considerable environmental degradation. Moreover, states may even reduce the environmental standards to attract foreign capital. Additionally, international trade can stimulate the commodity sector of the economy, and thus the excessive extraction of resources for export. The neglect of environmental costs provides a competitive advantage. Therefore, in countries with weak environmental management, which include China and India, economic liberalization may lead to deterioration of the environment.
Besides, in the global environment, the polluters also receive benefits without bearing the responsibility for their actions. As a result, at the global level, the high emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States impose additional costs on poor countries, making them even poorer. Moreover, in the global world, the natural resources are used unevenly. However, there are also positive influences of globalization on ecology. Countries and world institutions unite to resolve the biggest ecological issues, making their efforts more significant.
Elinor Ostrom has debunked the widely held view that the collective management of the property is inefficient, and that it should either be privatized or nationalized. Having studied numerous examples of public regulation of fishing, use of pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater, Ostrom has shown that in many cases the results are significantly better than the predictions of the standard model. She opened the laws of formation of complex decision-making practices and relationships towards the successful resolution of conflicts of interest (Walljasper, 2009).
Without denying the fact of negligent and prudent use of shared resources, Ostrom points out that the main problem is to understand how to limit the use of natural resources in the best way to ensure the long-term possibility of their conservation.
Many communities have already involved institutions allowing successfully manage some resource systems in the long perspective, while not related to any government or the market. Ostrom proves that those who use the common resources can successfully manage to use them.
In the process of creating and managing their own institutions and some cooperatives, people developed the mechanisms of management that allow, on the one hand, not to exhaust the resources they use, and, on the other hand, to effectively address emerging disputes and conflicts during the usage of the resource.
Therefore, in 1435, in Valencia, the residents organized the autonomous irrigation communities, the purpose of which was to manage the common land. The basic rules have not yet changed. Water distribution depends on the irrigation community decisions depending on what takes place: an abundance of water, its seasonal downturn or an extraordinary drought (Walljasper, 2009). In the years of water abundance (what occurs quite rare), farmers are allowed to take as much water as they need, as soon as the water enters the channel that serves their lands. The most common situation in which the irrigation canal system functions is a seasonal decline in water. When such situation occurs, the water flows to particular farmers through a complex hydraulic system that operates in accordance with the numerous rules. Without the use of irrigation, the development of agriculture in that region, where rainfall varies from year to year, would be impossible. The basic rule of water distribution is that the owner of the land receives the amount of water proportional to the area of his land. Consequently, each farmer can use the water only during his turn. When conceding it, the farmer would be able to take advantage of water only when the full circle is traversed.
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Elinor Ostrom provides the reasons for making it possible. In all similar places extensive sets of rules define the borders (which are very narrow) of proper behavior (Walljasper, 2009). Many of such rules allow people to live in a state of strong interdependence of diverse nature avoiding unnecessary conflicts. Moreover, the reputation of a man responsible for his deeds, an honest and reliable person is a valuable asset. The desire to follow the rules of proper behavior is reinforced by the desire to follow their own long-term interests.
In the process of using shared resources, individuals constantly communicate and interact with each other in the localized natural environment. Thus, it becomes possible to detect those individuals who can be trusted and to understand the impact that their actions have for themselves and for the overall resource system. The self-organization is also important, which allows one to learn to receive a joint benefit and avoid total loss. When people live in such conditions for a long time, and if they have developed the standards of behavior shared by all that are based on the principles of shared responsibility, they gain social capital with the help of which they can create the institutional establishments that allow solving the dilemma of the shared resources. A stable institutional arrangements and individual strategies support each other, where individuals follow the rules and perform mutual supervision.
Thus, Ostrom identifies several conditions under which tragedy of commons is not universal: clarity of boundaries; harmonization of rules governing the use of public goods with the local needs and conditions; the opportunity to change the rules for the majority of people who deal with them; the respect of the community rights to create their own rules from the external authority; the availability of monitoring mechanism of community members behavior, which they perform themselves; a set of different measures; the access of the community members to the dispute resolution mechanisms requiring low costs; the multi-level control over the shared resources belonging to the broader systems in the areas of appropriation, supply, surveillance, strengthening, dispute resolution, and management (Walljasper, 2009).
Nevertheless, the universal rules do not exist due to the fact that each situation is unique. It is important to understand whether there is a trust between the parties of the contract and whether they are ready to cooperate. The experience shows that in certain circumstances people can create the original schemes that are not amenable to an unambiguous classification, which, however, are viable and effective.
Freudenburg in his article “Addictive Economies” describes connection between the individual addiction to drugs and the natural resource dependent communities. According to Freudenburg, people who used drugs reported that at early stages they felt pleasure and even were exhilarated. However, ultimately, the consequences were debilitating. Besides, those individuals who tried leaving the drug usage faced negative reactions of the body, such as withdrawal symptoms (Freudenburg, 1992, p.306). “Analogously, at the community or regional level, the issue is not one of whether residents initially seek to attract extractive activities, whether experts warn against the potential danger of becoming too heavily dependent on those activities, nor even whether having once moved in the direction of an extractive employment base, affected communities and regions, will tend to show a desire for more of the same” (Freudenburg, 1992, p.306). On the contrary, the question is in the consequences that will be developing or debilitating. In case of debilitating consequences, the question is in the ability of the community to move from its economic dependence (Freudenburg, 1992, p.306).
In such way, the analogy really fits. Addiction to drugs and addiction to natural resources usually move from the same phases: experimentation, euphoria, and withdrawal. The natural resource dependent countries also start extracting resources using all possible methods available. Moreover, the dependence on one resource brings much money to the community, which results in a situation where people receive more wishing to have more. And finally, new players appear in the market, or alternative resources are found, or the resources are depleted, and the community experiences the situation when it should move from such dependability, as it will not only bring any money, but may undermine the economy of the community. As a result, at present, the community feels withdrawal, as the diversification process is long and difficult. However, there is a chance that community will not feel an adverse effect of the total dependence. Nevertheless, there are also enough drug addicts that lived a long life. Thus, the analogy of drug addiction with addictive economies completely fits.
In case, when an addictive economy feels the pressure from the world, or has already used almost all resources, it starts declining. Therefore, the community becomes poorer and the desire appears to shift from the natural resources to another area. One of the best ways out is to turn to tourism. There are many countries that could successfully diversify its economy by focusing the tourism, in particular the UAE. At the same time, there appears issue, which affects the community’s desire to shift exactly to tourism. It will be difficult for people who have been working in the particular area for a long time to change their occupation as it is strongly tied to their lives. However, there are still possible solutions to the given situation. People who worked in forestry can work in the tourism connected to forests, while those individuals who worked in fishing can involve in the tourism connected to seas, etc. Additionally, the tourism cannot be equally beneficial for everyone by making the living too costly for the people who work in the country. Thus, for people who worked in the Bend, Oregon area, it has become impossible to afford to live there. The same situation was witnessed in Park City, Utah, and Boulder, Colorado. The shifting economy should assure its population that everything will be done for them; that it will provide subsidies and special conditions for working people that will significantly facilitate their lives. It should also assess and advance the economic, geographic, social, and human capital to lessen the unpredictable influences.
Nowadays, after so many things learnt and so many information processes, I think that that there will not be any changes in the society and in the environment or improvement in the natural resources management, if people continue doing the same things I usually do. I try to be a smart shopper and do not buy the products that have an adverse effect on the environment. I am also telling my friends and family to do so and explain them the benefits of such behavior. I also sort the rubbish and do not throw batteries in the trash. Additionally, I try to reduce my driving, as it was told in the first question. Nevertheless, now I understand that it is not enough, even if thousands people will also start to do the same things. However, it is still a great beginning, as we always should start from oneself. The lowered demand on the toxic product can force the producers to stop the manufacturing, as it will not bring any benefits.
Nevertheless, it is important not to stop on it. The consumers are not the source of the problem. It is not the consumers who put the toxic products on the store shelves or who allows slavery in the factories. Moreover, they do not fill the stores with the electronics that are broken so frequently, are hard to repair and are often thrown away. The reason is wrong polices, bad businesses, and natural resources management (Story of change, 2012). The real change can occur only when people, and me in particular, will gather together to challenge the existing rules. All of the important movements that occurred in the recent years and changed the course of history, such an environmental movements in the USA in the 70s, made people improve their daily habits, as well as the overall situation and the general rules, which should be also done by us (Story of change, 2012). Trying to be ecofriendly in today’s world is very difficult due to numerous reasons. However, by changing the priorities of our economy, we can change the situation and make the right things become the easiest things to do. First of all, we should have an idea of how to make all possible to reach the core of the problem. Secondly, we should do it together. And finally, the changes will be possible only when the general idea and the commitment to work together are combined (Story of change, 2012). Nowadays, we have many innovative ideas on how to improve the situation and it is easy to reach people and to unite them. Nevertheless, we still lack actions. Only real joint efforts can make changes and improve natural resources management.
In the beginning of the course, I have described myself as being between the HEP- and NEP-person. However, throughout the term I have learnt many new things and changed my position. Previously, I valued the nature, and did not think that it exists for the production of goods, but I preferred the economic growth rather than protection of the environment. Moreover, I did not think that the nature should be of my concern. The compassion in relation to other living beings and other people was one of the principles of my life. I did not exploit other human beings to meet my needs, and was not indifferent towards others, but, unfortunately, I showed the interest to the problems only of my generation. However, I believe it is not late to change the situation. Additionally, I was always saying “No” to the further development of nuclear energy, but I was consent to the risk in order to maximize wealth and thought that science and technology were a huge benefit for the people. Moreover, I knew that the natural resources are limited and nderstood that the explosion of population should be limited to save the environment.
At the same time, I believed the growth should be reached without limits and gave the priority to the production and consumption over preservation. I also understood the there is a need in a completely new society with different thoughts and willingness for action and understood that people seriously destroyed the nature by their actions. Nevertheless, I still gave the priority to the market and competition over cooperation, worked only to meet the economic needs, and thought that there only exist complex and rapidly changing lifestyles. Finally, I knew that there should be a new policy and a new party structure focused on challenges and which could always be ready for straight actions. Regardless of my knowledge, I was not doing anything, and was giving the preference to mechanisms of the market control. In such way, I was between the two paradigms.
Now, I can describe myself as a totally NEP-person. I believe that the anthropocentrism, which is in the basis of the HEP-person, is a totally wrong attitude. One cannot survive and live alone, thinking only about oneself. A person is only one of the many other creatures that are interdependent and are included in the global ecosystem. I know that the nature has its value and that people should take care of all living organisms, including human beings and their future generations. Moreover, they should seek the exclusion of any types of risks and threats to humanity and nature, and recognize that there are the biosphere laws that human society should not overstep.
Human affairs are influenced not only by the social and cultural factors, but also are included in the complex system of causal relationships (including feedback) of natural tissue. Additionally, people live in a finite biophysical environment and are dependent on it. Such environment imposes severe biological and physical constraints on human activity. Moreover, although the ingenuity of people and the force that is acquired seem to be able to expand the boundaries of carrying capacity of ecosystems for some time, the environmental laws cannot be canceled.
Therefore, in today’s global world, everyone should become the NEP-persons to make the changes occur. We should care about nature, and not only about ourselves, and we should act together. The tighter we work, the more power we have.