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American Environmental Issues (Essay Sample)


History Title: American Environmental Issues Number of sources: 8 Provide digital sources used: No Paper format: MLA # of pages: 8 Spacing: Double spaced # of words: 2200 # of slides: ppt icon 0


American Environmental Issues
Many human activities on the biophysical environments aim to promote productivity and enhance comfort and sustain the livelihoods of the human race. Certain human acts have contributed to major environmental problems experienced in the world. The United States has experienced serious environmental problems in history. There have been efforts to address environmental problems in America since 1960. Many publications provide accounts of the problems and the measures advanced in dealing with environmental issues in America. Literature on American environmental issues focus on many different topics with some of the issues attracting more weight from the authors and others treated less significantly.
The discussion below explores certain publications on United States environmental issues and focuses on the themes they address. It addresses the topics they treat with more importance together with those they tend to downplay. Moreover, the publications address themes sourced from various primary and secondary foundations. The arguments expressed also possess rhetorical strategies that influence the response of audiences differently. Many authors of materials on America’s environmental issues recognise that human activity is responsible for the problems American environment faces today. Worster in his publication The Wealth of Nature: Environmental History and the Ecological Imagination argues that the effects of human activities on the environment can be examined through nature. The settlement of people in America was motivated by agricultural activities and availability of water resources. With time resources became scarce and people overcrowded the few areas that contained these resources. Human settlement in America around water resources caused massive pollution of water. In addition the continued use of agricultural lands caused pollution of soil erosion. The author examines the consequences of agriculture on American Great Plains in chapter 14.
Donald Worster uses texts from different historical authors in exploring the themes and advancing different argument of the history of environmental issues. The author examines the relationship between environmental issues and current intervention procedures. The author uses the works of Aldo Leopold in indicating how natural factors influence human settlements (Worster 180-183).Nature acts to create order in the society. The author shows how industrial developments have shown little respect for nature. He additionally uses primary information that reflects on his observation of environmental transformation over the years and respective remedies.
Water became an important boundary defining measure. It defined issues of governance and science in the State of California. Issues such as the receivership of swamps in Sacramento River led to developments such as the building of Levelee. There have been responses from different scholars on how Worster treats America’s environmental issues .Robert Kelley in his book Battling the Inland Sea: American Political Culture, Public Policy, and Sacramento Valley agrees that nature can be used to judge the state of environment. Kelley does not accept the fact that human activities could be responsible for the current environmental state. Kelley goes ahead to explain the concept of formulating environmental policies in Sacramento River.
Kelley and Worster both agree that environmental policies are formulated with the aim to improve current standards. Kelley recognises that the current situation of the environment needs to be improved and so policies should be put in place to protect the environment. Worster’s insistence that human activities are responsible for environmental degradation cannot go unchallenged. By labelling human as the sole player in environmental degradation Worster fails to look into other agents that play a part in the said degradation. Both the authors are in agreement to the fact that the formulation of policies is apolitical affair and involves key political figures in the America.
Many legislators from Sacramento under the leadership of Tem Darrell created a bill to control environmental operations in the arena of Sacramento. The proposed bill would encourage a review of Sacramento arena. The law would examine any adverse effects the river has on environmental policies. There are provisions in the bill that permit mediation of any disagreements emerging from issues on environment. Before people settled in Sacramento valley, the river was on free flow. Rain in winter and seasonal snowmelt would cause the river to overflow the banks and cause flooding. The emergence of dams and diversions has reduced fishing activities in the river. Dams and mining activities obstructed fish passages in the river.
The author also demonstrates how nature influences the political and policymaking processes in the United States. Environmental policies can generate both positive and negative results to the environment and the society. Water became an important boundary defining measure. It defined issues of governance and science in the State of California. Issues such as the receivership of swamps in Sacramento River led to developments such as the building of Levelee. Natural disasters like flooding caused a major structural development in California. The publication main argument is the fact that the environment has through history, lost its beauty. Building of Levee began in the region of Sycamore Slough creating an opening in the River’s west bank.
The next example of the reaction to Worster’s perception on America’s environmental issues is the works by William Cronon. In the publication Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature The author gives a vivid explanation of the concept of nature. In this book the author looks into the diverse definition of the term nature in the United States and the globe. The book provides different elements of environments. The writer presents different experiences that humans face in relation to an environmental element. The publication provokes diverse thoughts among the readers on the perceptions they can have concerning the environment. Readers have a chance to examine various issues about the environment. Questions arising from the discussion of the environment include what it really means, how it influences life, how human activities affect nature and the remedies for environmental issues. In describing the different perceptions of nature, the author brings the image of features like mountains, the volcano, the valleys and the orange light that flip through them, the sky and the city among other things (Cronon 23).
The publication contains contents of diverse nature that help the readers acquire new means of perceiving and responding to nature. The book creates a relationship between nature and cultural concepts. This book provokes various questions among the readers through exposing the threats that different environmental issues present to the society. It claims that the questions that relate to environmental issues and conservation cause apprehensions. However, addressing these questions is not an option (Cronon 26). There is the use of emotional appeal in invoking serious thoughts about the environment.
Counter Argument
Cronon accepts the role of nature in defining the condition of the environment. The fact that Cronon realizes that nature has a role to play in environmental issues does not disqualify the possibility of human beings causing environmental degradation. Cronon seems to assume that America’s environmental issues are majorly caused by historical disasters caused by nature. The author in this case argues that environmental policies should be formulated to protect human beings from such disasters. Cronon argues that natural features such as Vocanic Mountains and floods play a big role in environmental degradation. The only weak link in his argument is that the environmental policies should aim at protecting humans from disasters instead of the environment. The environment comes before humans. It would be more appropriate to create policies that are driven towards preserving the environment rather that salvaging the conditions of mankind. The author contradicts Worster’s argument with the idea that it is nature that is responsible for the living conditions of human beings in an environment. Cronon fails to mention the role of mankind in the process of making a better environment.
The next example of a scholarly reaction to Worster’s publication on environmental issues in America is the work by Carolyn Merchant. In her documentary named Major Problems in American Environmental History: Documents and Essays the author investigates issues such as pollution and environmental conservation and preservation of wildlife. The book additionally deals with the factor of globalization. The work studies how globalization influences the American environment. The shape of the environment in history emerges here with exploration of different areas of the globe in diverse times of world history. Human activities like deforestation and agriculture in the society have negatively affected the environment in the United States. Activities like include the 17th century fairest in New England, tobacco and rice farming in the colonial south and globalisation have contributed to environmental degradation and conservation (Merchant 221-234).
In essence, the book explores the greatest factors responsible for environmental problems through history and to present civilization. Although it explores some of the measures of dealing with the issue say through the Copenhagen meetings, the publication presents little proposals on the proper solutions to problems that affect nature.
In the addition to the first reaction...
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