How Colonialism has Led to the Current Climate Crisis (Essay Sample)
Please watch the short video “Climate justice can't happen without racial justice”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkIpeO1r0NI Drawing on materials covered in the course (lecturers, essays, videos), respond to David Lammy's comment that “The climate crisis is in a way colonialism's natural conclusion.”
Your paper should be 1000-1200 words or about 3-4 pages. Please make sure you put your name on your essay. Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Remember that citations are required for both paraphrasing and direct quotes from either the text or lecture. Feel free to cite other books and articles as needed. Include a full list of works cited at the back (APA, MLA, or another citation standard).
How Colonialism has Led to the Current Climate Crisis
According to Lammy (4), the climate crisis is, in a way, the end result of colonialism. This statement means that today's unpredictable weather patterns are a consequence of commercial colonization. Ideally, colonialists' activities, such as extracting valuable resources from the planet, destroyed the environment, fuelling the current climatic crisis.
Various authors support Lammy's statement. For instance, Chomsky and his colleagues believe that the rise of capitalism in the 20th century led to the destruction of the environment and triggered pollution (Chomsky, 60). The authors note that factories used energy from fossil fuels such as coal during that period. These energy sources led to the emission of excessive carbon IV oxide into the atmosphere. The conclusion made is that the emergence of capitalism during the colonial period contributed significantly to environmental degradation by releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. This gas has fuelled the climatic crisis.
Voskoboynik also supports Lammy's statement. In his argument, the current increase in climatic changes can be traced to colonial rule. He notes that colonialism was all about access to new resources, lands, and minerals. Consequently, this exploration led to the mass destruction of trees and vegetation and have, over the years, fuelled climatic crises (Voskoboynik, 18). The environment faced massive destruction during the colonial era. This is because every colonizer exploited minerals and metals to gain economic growth, political power, and become more industrialized. Unfortunately, none of them cared about the environmental impacts.
According to historians, during the colonial era, colonizers were obsessed with the extraction of gold and silver. Research shows that from 16th to 19th centuries, about 100 million kilograms of silver were mined from Latin America and Europe (Voskoboynik, 19). This caused massive destruction to the rainforest and natural vegetation. As a result, the climate started changing in both Europe and Latin America.
From the evidence above, it is clear that nature was significantly affected during the colonial period through vast mining. This activity could be one of the major causes of the climate crisis. However, this approach was not the only way through which colonialists destroyed the environment. For example, grasslands, mangroves, wetlands, and rainforests were cleared to create space for plantations, roads, railways, and ranches (Voskoboynik, 21). Consequently, the entire landscape was subjected to exploitation and control. In addition, deforestation and pollution became a norm.
Furthermore, lands were parcelled, zoned, and mapped. For instance, according to research, colonizers such as France had subdivided Africa into useful and useless parts depending on the fertility and mineral richness associated with various areas (Voskoboynik, 22). As a result, within no time, the new territories had turned the previously vegetation-covered regions into erosion-prone empty fields and bare lands.
Moreover, collective land management practices that helped preserve the environment were ignored. Instead, models of individual property ownership, which were destructive to the environment, were imposed (Voskoboynik, 22). Most lands were also handed to settlers and concessionary companies that cared less about preserving the environment.
The colonizers also eliminated locally-rooted and time-tested agricultural tradition, which was friendly to the environment. In almost every continent around the globe, staple crops were replaced with cash crops. The latter were grown in plantations (Voskoboynik, 19). The change led to the mass destruction of forests and natural vegetation to create land for this form of agriculture. Besides, state regulation and engineering replaced the communal water management systems, affecting the environment further.
According to research, sugarcane plantation was one of the most environmentally destructive practices during the colonial period. For example, in Cape Verde and Canary Islands, millions of hectares of woodlands were cleared to grow the crop (Voskoboynik, 23). This led to massive deforestation that turned the two areas into deserts.
On the other hand, Madeira, a forested Atlantic Island, was cleared to create space for cane plantations and livestock keeping. Moreover, slaves from Africa and Canary Islands were forced to dig thousands of canals for irrigation (Voskoboynik, 26). The above two activities massively destroyed the environment. In this case, they could be one of the causes of the current climate crisis.
According to research, the deforestation done during the colonial period has turned a large portion of the earth's surface into deserts. Historians believe that France is to blame for Algeria's current condition. Besides, most countries that are currently suffering the consequences of deforestation can trace the problem to the colonial period. For example, in America, forests were destroyed to pave the way for massive sugarcane plantations (Voskoboynik, 31). Comparatively, the Guyana and West Indies rainforests were cleared to create an area for farming. Mexico forests also faced massive destruction from the Spanish to supply their refineries with wood fuel. Other places that were affected include Haiti and Fiji.
Sugarcane is not the only cash crop to blame for the massive environmental destruction during the colonial period. Coffee farming also influenced the clearing of huge areas covered by vegetation, especially in the Amazon. Forests in Congo, Southeast Asia, and Colombia were similarly destroyed to create space for rubber plantations (Voskoboynik, 32). Moreover, Thailand and Burma's vegetation cleared and the lands turned
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