The Philosophy of a Sustainable Environment
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The term environment applies to all external conditions and influences that that has an impact on development and life of an organism. On our planet earth, environment encompasses the essential life sustaining elements such as water, air, and soils. Other natural resources are there too. And they become useful to man as need arises. In our modern world, environmental issues form the essential part of the global discussions, meetings, forums and summits. Environmental issues are a serious global problem that has triggered several controversial issues. As defined by Barbault and Sastrapradja, an environmental issue refers to every aspect of human activity that has a direct effect on the entire biophysical environment.
The list of environmental issues caused by human beings are innumerable and they might include; climate change, conservation, energy, issues relating to environmental degradation, environmental health, genetic engineering, pollution among several other issues. Throughout history, man has expressed concern about his environment and has reacted when the environment itself exerted pressure on him. There has been increased concern and awareness on the seriousness of environmental problems. For that matter, several measures have been taken to economize the available recourses, find alternatives where resources have been exhausted or renew the resources where applicable. Through conservation measures, man aims at protecting the environment from his wanton destruction and eventually strike balance between conservation and development.
For several years environmental alarmists have argued that the heating of the earth is as a result of man activities. Even though it is only a viewpoint very few people have bothered to observe that the world isÿnaturally warming as it surmounts the effects of the Little Ice Age that had overwhelmed the earth until the early nineteenth century. However, the freny overÿglobalÿwarmingÿhas turn out to be a pervasive belief, and it has been toughened by the uninformed media that augments the fear people have.
According to Pearce (2001), although there are many natural resources on the earth, they are not infinite and therefore they should be used with care and concern for the present and the future. This can only be achieved through proper management and conservation of our environment. This incorporates practices such as the control of the exploitation of natural resources achieved though proper formulation of laws, carrying out necessary research, and training of the required manpower with the aim of helping man to exploit his environment sustainably (p.284).
Proponents as well opponents of this environmental conservation have supported their viewpoint by paying special attention to what cause, the effects, as well as the common impact on the environment and society. On the other hand, Trenberth (2007) holds a different and deep-rootedÿviewpoint. He argues that several scientists sustain that the emission of carbons may not lead to climatic change. Furthermore, another group of scientists have proposed that in spite of significant increase in carbon dioxide emitted during the Second World War, the earth in fact started to cool, which supports the premise that there exists no correlation between global warming and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions.
On the contrary, there have been various responses in regard to the question of global warming. In their responses, a group of skeptical politicians and scientists often question the legality of the global warming theory. Such critics base the prediction of increasing global temperatures on faulty simulated computer climatic models. Such responses are said to embellish the climate's reaction to carbon dioxide as well as other greenhouse gases whilst failing to correctly replicate the activiities of the environment. Skeptics of Global warming also dispute that fluctuations in natural climate and not human actions, is accountable for the past century's mounting temperatures.
Various social and environmental movements have been formed with the aim of addressing these environmental issues through advocacy, education and outright activism. Management and conservation of the environment is not totally an individual country's affair. International cooperation is imperative because the atmosphere and the seas are property of all nations. It is reassuring to note that the international community is fully aware of this necessity and has been acting accordingly. At present nearly all countries have environmental machineries at work. An increasing number of environmental laws have been formulated and updated to control and conserve the environment. There has been a marked growth in environmental research and development in various countries.
With all the environmental problems in mind, it is clear that there is a serious need for management and conservation of the environment to guarantee life on earth. The earth's resources must be conserved and enhanced. Key adjustments in policies will be needed to cope with the world's high levels of consumption and utilization of resources. Development policies must widen alternative ways of earning a sustainable livelihood. Countries need to anticipate and prevent environmental problems which may result from application of new technologies. This is a major step towards maintaining a sound environment. It should be noted that environmental protection yields economic and social benefits (Barbault & Sastrapradja, 1995, p.198). If we misuse the earth resources today, there will be no more left for the process of development in the years to come. Without conservation there cannot be guaranteed development and without development there cannot be conservation.