The Environmental Concerns Essay, Research Paper
The environment has become a main concern of people over the course of the
twentieth century. Problems such as global warming, holes in the ozone layer due to
pollution and lack of space to stow waste have caused people to become more aware of
the environment around them. In Crisis in American Institutions, Skolnick and Currie
address and elaborate upon these issues, taking them to a new level and linking them to
the economy and racism. They explain which areas are falling prey to pollution, the
dangers of global warming due to pollution, and how we have failed to prevent all of this.
Because the areas we live in generally reflect our financial status, most people with
a substantial amount of money will choose to live in areas that are not affected by
contamination. As mentioned in previous chapters of Institutions, money as well as race
influences where people live: middle- to upper-middle class Caucasians generally live in
affluent neighborhoods that coincidentally have little or no problems with garbage, while
poorer, nonwhite people tend to gather in inner-city communities where pollution of the
land and air is a major factor. Racial discrimination is again called to the podium as the
problem of not only segregation, but of segregation to tainted areas.
It is a known fact that urban areas are breeding grounds for factories, industries,
and the office buildings that help the world go ?round. These buildings contribute to the
nation?s waste problem by dumping their trash and leftovers into oceans, lakes, rivers, and
whatever hole they can manage to fill. Added to this is that people have to get to the city
somehow, and city streets are clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic from cars, trucks,
taxis, and buses. All of these vehicles emit fumes, which over time can turn toxic. Living
in urban areas is generally less expensive than living in a white-picket-fenced suburbia, so
the nonwhite population with less money are forced to make their homes in the smoggy
city, especially the African-American population, who tend to live in polluted areas the
most. ?Unincorporated communities of poor African Americans suffer a ?triple?
vulnerability to noxious facility siting.? [p. 250] It is a cycle that is very difficult to change
when it is actually the people who live in the suburbs who produce much of the waste.
The matter of global warming is also a very important issue we must address. The
world?s changing climate has been subject for countless news articles and papers for over
twenty years. ?New record-setting weather extremes seem to have become as
commonplace as traffic accidents?the annual ammount of carbon dioxide?is six billion
tons?? [p. 257] This is because of the new technological advances and industrial
developments as well as humankind?s desire to use automobiles which emit carbon dioxide
gas into the air.
It was because of problems like these that caused government to take action.
Agencies like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Global Climate
Coalition aid the world?s industries in cutting down oh their amount of wasteful emissions.
However helpful this may sound, these agencies can do little more than spur people into
action, because it is not the people that do the cleaning up, it is the factories and industries
who must take action to begin the process. If the pollution continues to be emitted by
these factories, the world will slowly continue to heat up, causing ?widespread economic,
social, and environmental dislocation over the next century?The continuing emission of
greenhouse gases would create crop-destroying droughts?new and recurring diseases,
hurricanes?and rising sea levels?? [p. 257] Indeed, the world will suffer if the heat
keeps rising, and the heat will keep rising if we do not learn to control our output of waste
The environment is a definite concern of ours, but it shouldn?t be taken as
seriously as some organizations take it. Sure, we will eventually run of of coal and oil, but
by the time we do we will hopefully have new scientific alternatives that are more
cost-efficient and environmentally sound. Also, when the urban industries begin to clean
up their acts, the cities will in time become cleaner and a better place for people to live.