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Green Living, Outline Example

Pages: 3

Words: 943

Outline

Introduction

The Industrial Revolution was both an exciting and devastating time for the common man. Possibilities of profit and economic improvement opened before him that had never previously existed. His physical conditions both suffered and improved.  They suffered in that he was subjected to poor air quality, living conditions, and increased disease as a result of rising density in urban populations.  His conditions improved in that he had access to money as he hadn’t before, and he had the chance of becoming a part of the middle class rather than being condemned to the life of a peasant for the duration of his life. The capitalist cycle of economic growth, then, has reached an apex such that better technologies are now providing the means for more consumption rather than less, which has begun to reverse the long upward spiral of living standards because of the burden on natural resources and the commoditization of human life. This paper is important; it helps instill that conservation ethics and shows how to live accordingly. Thus every person needs to think big to be a part of worldwide efforts, and act more perceptively and individually.

Encountering Environmentalism

The possibilities for destructive environmental effects in the capitalistic process of accumulation are obvious, but.  In past environmental rhetoric, a notion of “three worlds” was devised: environment, human society, and technology.  To compare the problems of these three worlds, a formula was used to evaluate the environmental impact of various changes in the “worlds.”  Called the “PAT” formula, it was Population x Affluence x Technology = Environmental Impact (Foster, 2000).  This formula allowed environmentalists to assess the impact of various human living situations on the environment, regardless of their level of industrialization or affluence.

Save Energy, Money, and the Earth

Built upon the global understanding of the necessity for reduction in environmental impact and the current paradigm of the threefold model, the Kyoto Protocol was designed as an international agreement which would require the most advanced capitalist countries to take responsibility for global warming and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The targeted reductions were to reach approximately 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 (McCraw, 1997).  The Protocol, however, met enormous resistance from these countries, especially China and the United States (Foster, 2000). Even though failure to address the problem would trigger a chain reaction of negative environmental impacts, the capitalist motto of “consume today, pay tomorrow” made commitment to such a socially conscious agreement antithetical (Sampford, & Ransome, 2011, p. 1). The expression, “think big, act small” describes an effective approach to conservation, and includes individual actions to take to live more lightly on the earth.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

This part takes a familiar tune and shows why it is important to reduce, reuse and recycle products. This offers fresh thinking on how to reduce waste, find new uses for old products, and recycle just about everything, including stuff like electronics and worn-out tires.

  1. A Greener World: This moves beyond the home and personal spheres to the big, wide world.
  2. Green business: This begins with ways one can green his workplace, from reducing waste to starting an office recycling program (Cohen, 2011). This finishes with ways companies can go greener, by purchasing carbon offsets and donating to earth-loving charities.
  3. Alternative and renewable energy: This peeks into the future of energy, looking at technologies currently in use, under development, or on the horizon to produce power that is clean, renewable, and sustainable (Thompson, & Turk, 2006). This covers wind, solar, and geothermal energy; hydropower; biomass; and hydrogen fuel cells.
  4. Getting Involved: This suggests ways to use time, efforts, and money to make a different and help the earth. This also covers environmentally responsible investing, so one can do well in the world while funding his nest egg (Sampford, & Ransome, 2011).
  5. The Actual Environmental Impact of Better Technology

The question that remains is whether the fundamental hypothesis that more efficient technology spawns less consumption is valid.  Jevons’ (1865) analysis in The Coal Question indicates that when technologies are created that reduce consumption of a natural resource such as coal results not in less but in more usage and more demand because the improvements result in increased desire and ability to produce more goods.  It is not increased efficiency that lowers consumption but decreased profits (Sweezy, 1989).

Calculating a Footprint

Since I’m environment conscious, my green radar has constantly been disturbing me that buying local and organic is not enough. I suspected that, as a cook, and as a home owner, or as a civilized citizen, I could do more to combat climate change. Lots more… I shall calculate my carbon footprint in carbonfootprint.com.

Conclusion

Since the earth’s fundamental capacity of natural resources is finite and can only expand so much in order to accommodate the rapidly increasing demands that are being placed on it, somehow, regardless of the type of country, a method for reducing consumption and impact on the earth must be devised in order to reestablish harmony and balance (Gieske, 2011, p. xxix).  Mirroring these factors, I figured this out that the three ways to cause this positive change are: stabilization and/or reduction of population, technological improvements, or radical socioeconomic change.

References

Cohen, Nevin. (2011). Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide. SAGE.

Foster, John Bellamy. (2000). “Capitalism’s Environmental Crisis: Is Technology the Answer?”  Monthly Review.

Gieske, Tim. (2011). EcoCommerce 101: Adding an Ecological Dimension to the Economy. Hillcrest Publishing Group.

Jevon, William Stanley. (1865).  The Coal Question. London: Macmillan Press.

McCraw, Thomas. (1997). Creating Modern Capitalism.  MA: Harvard University Press.

Sampford, Charles., & Ransome, William. (2011). Ethics and Socially Responsible Investment: A Philosophical Approach. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Sweezy, Paul M. (1989, June). “Capitalism and the Environment”. Monthly Review, 41:2.

Thompson, Graham R., & Turk, Jonathan. (2006). Earth Science and the Environment. Cengage Learning.

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