Solving Environmental Problems of the Earth
††††††††††?One of the most serious issues the world will have to
deal with is the ever growing environmental problems.?The situation is worsened by the existence of
many countries that are still not democratic, especially when these non
democratic countries are capitalists.?People
have only recently begun to understand the negative environmental impact caused
by human activity since the Industrial Revolution, as a result of mass capitalism
and mass consumerism mixed with intense population growth.?Aside from the most common argument of global
warming, which is at least partially caused by humans, there are a list of
other environmental concerns that directly affect the health and the future of
our population.?Water pollution, water
scarcity, air pollution, and desertification are all environmental issues that
are directly caused by human activity that can be avoided.?When these problems are mixed with the growing
population of the world, they become issues that need to be dealt with
††††††††††?In countries that face these environmental problems, it
is fair to say that a democratic government is fit to handle these grave
problems most efficiently.?It will take
a Grand Alliance, integrating the democracies of the world, to come together
and face these complex issues.?Only will
the alliance and cooperation of the most powerful democracies in the world be
able to pressure countries, specifically China into addressing their
environmental problems.?And only will
the alliance of democracies be able to keep one another in line enforcing these
rules set by an international environmental agency.?Furthermore, only the influence of democracy
and capitalism around the world will allow poor nations to rise out of poverty
and control their rising population growth.?
While it is difficult to say that the United
States should be the example for environmentalism around
the world, it is reasonable to assume that the United
States is better than China.?Moreover, it is safe to assume that an alliance
of democracies would be better than an authoritarian country that is not doing
what is best for its population.?The
democratic countries would be able pressure one another to follow strict
Background:?Industrial Revolution/Population Growth
††††††††††?Before the Industrial Revolution, there were less than a
billion people on the planet.?Generally
these people only consumed what they could use and what was needed.?And if they consumed more than what they
could use or what was needed, it was not significant enough to have a negative
impact on the ecosystem of the planet.?
The Industrial Revolution provided new technologies that allowed people
to produce and consume at a very quick rate.?
This opened the doors for a mass capitalism and mass consumerism
ideology.?Based on these two ideologies,
producers and consumers alike were encouraged to produce and consume as much as
possible for the market to grow.?In 1830,
when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, the population of the world
had reached one billion people (populationinstitute.org).?At this point, the Earth was perfectly
capable of sustaining that kind of abuse that capitalism caused.?Unfortunately, no one predicted the drastic
increase in population that was to occur in the next 200 years.?And no one envisioned the amount of damage
that this many people could cause to the planet.?
††††††††††?The CIA estimated in July 2007, the world has a
population of 6.6 billion people (CIA.gov).?
The UN projects that this number could grow to 8.9 billion people by
2050.?This UN projection was based on
recent population growth trends; however, if the population growth rate returns
to the rate of 2001, then there would be over 20 billion people by 2100 (http://www.earthday.net).?If the world followed the current economic
model of the United States,
or even China,
with this trend of population growth, then life would be unsustainable.
††††††††††?The good news is that developed countries have a
considerably lower population growth rate than undeveloped countries.?In the 49 poorest countries of the world,
populations are still increasing at 2.4% a year, while annual growth in
industrial nations is 0.25% (http://www.worldwatch.org).?It would be to the advantage of the
environment to slow down the population growth by including undeveloped
countries into the western system in hopes that they will develop.
China:?A Growing Environmental Threat
is both a serious threat to the democratic world, but also the
environment.?The problem with China is that
it is a hybrid of a capitalist economic system mixed with an authoritarian
government.?This is particularly
dangerous because working class has virtually no voice.?In a democratic system, if enough pressure is
put on the government to improve certain health issues, then the democratically
elected officials will do something about the problem.?Democracies also have checked powers where
the leaders cannot do anything outside of reason to endanger the health of the
citizens.?On the other hand, dictators
do as they please to make their country more powerful, and in Chinaís case,
government simply ignores and often censors these people.?China has insisted that it will not
let the environment stand in the way of economic growth.
central government even tries to shift the blame of its environmental problems
to the Multinational Corporations that have factories in the country.?Beijing has
blamed MNCís for turning China
into the pollution capital of the world.?
MNCís do add to the pollution; although, a majority of the pollution is
the result of domestic Chinese companies.?
According to Elizabeth Economy, a pollution map was released in late
2006 listening more than 3,000 factories that were violating Chinaís
pollution standards.?Thirty three of the
factories supplied MNCs and were ultimately targeted in the media while the
other few thousand were let off without any blame from the media.?The other few thousand were domestic
factories responsible for a majority of the pollution (http://www.foreignaffairs.org).
††††††††††?The policies of the Chinese should be of particular concern
to other nations for several reasons.?
One reason is that the pollution in the air doesnít simply hover over China.?All countries share the same air.?Pollution that is created in China may soon
be on its way over to another country.?
In fact, evidence shows that air pollution travels across the Pacific
and makes its way over to the western United States.
The Grand Alliance as a Solution
††††††††††?Although it may be extremely difficult, it is possible to
mix mass capitalism and environmental protectionism.?This would be a difficult challenge because
mass capitalism is based on a philosophy of mass consumerism.?Back during the start of the Industrial
Revolution this would not be a concern; however, there are now approximately
6.6 billion people on the planet and if everyone consumed like Americans do,
then the Earth would be unable to support life on the planet, or there would be
conflict over the remaining resources.?
As of July 2007, the CIA estimates the United States has a population of
about 301 million.?While only having
about five percent of the worldís population, the United States consumes about a
fourth of the worldís resources, including energy sources such as fossil fuels,
coal, oil, and natural gas. (Worldwatch Institute).?There consists of 4.5 biologically productive
acres per person.?The average person in
the United States
uses 24 acres
per person (http://www.earthday.net).?If everyone lived like the Americans, we
would need a couple more identical planets.?
The United States
isnít necessarily the picture perfect image of an environmentalist nation;
however, a democratic alliance would surely be better for the environment than
an authoritarian capitalistic nation.?
††††††††††?After a democratic alliance is formed, then an
international environmental protection agency can be put into place with
delegates from each country.?These
delegates can be elected officials who can find a positive balance between
capitalism and environmental regulations.?
The EPA has a staff of almost 9,000 in Washington
DC alone, while SEPA, Chinaís environmental regulator, has only 300
employees in Beijing
and only a few more hundred throughout the rest of the country (http://www.foreignaffairs.org).?The addition of an international
environmental agency, with many sub agencies under it, would create thousands
of new jobs around the world.?Many
believe that capitalism must slow down in order for people to control the
environment.?While in some cases this
may be true, capitalism could be stimulated by putting more emphasis on
environmental jobs can be created to protect the environment and the ecosystem.?More research can be committed to creating
new technology that is environmentally friendly.?We really only need to control population
growth by allowing countries to develop and create environmentally friendly
technology instead of trying to slow down capitalism which would slow down and
potentially destroy the economy.
the Grand Alliance
Based on Mutual Environmental Concerns
††††††††††?Environmental concerns can certainly be one way to begin
discussions of forming the Euro-American alliance.?While the current administration of the United States may not prioritize environmental
issues at the top of their list, combining security and economic reasons would
help encourage the US
to form such an alliance.?Several
European countries such as Germany
and France do take these
issues seriously and would be happy if the United States would as well.?One country can take steps to reduce their
pollution, but if other countries do not, the effort is pointless.?These environmental issues must be dealt with
on a global level for the sake of the health of the population.?If not for the health of the population, then
we must deal with them for the sake of advancing the society.?New technology that is environmentally
friendly will use less energy and therefore be more efficient economically.
††††††††††?The growing environmental problems of the planet are some
of the most serious problems we face today.?
It will be nearly impossible to improve upon or solve these issues with
the current global political model.?Only
with an alliance of integrated democratic economies