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The Environmental Protection Agency, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1047

Research Paper

The Environmental Protection Agency is the federal agency that is responsible for the protection of both the environment as well as the health of U.S. citizens, and performs its responsibilities by creating regulations and legislation that are designed to accomplish its goals.  The field of environmental science is that which involves biology regarding the relationship between organisms and their environment (Farlex, 2010).  This paper will discuss the basic principles of environmental science including some of the problems and solutions involved in its study.

Science is a systematic process by which the elements of the natural world are established by using scientific methods.  Scientists who are interested in discovering such elements utilize the scientific method which includes five essential components: identifying a problem or question formed by observation of the natural world; developing predictive hypotheses to explain the phenomenon; designing a testable experiment to prove or disprove the hypothesis; analyzing the results of the experiment and the ways in which they prove or disprove the issue at hand; and continuing to perform experiments on the phenomenon, making changes or modifications to each test.(Carnegie Mellon, 2003).

The principles of science and technology are applied to environmental science in order to identify current and potential problems that may affect people’s health and the overall health of the planet, and to develop solutions to those problems.  The confluence ofscience, technology, and environmental science were evident in the aftermath of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of science and technology have resulted in countless instances of deep-water oil drilling that were supposedly safe and complete with backup plans in the event of a blowout.  When a combination of incompetence, cutting corners to save money, or simple negligence caused the failure in that system, it was an environmental catastrophe.  The entire fiasco resulted in questioning whether or not the science and technology involved in deep water oil drilling is indeed sound and safe enough to justify the process.  During the entire period following the oil spill, numerous scientific methods were utilized to attempt to put a permanent cap on the thousands of gallons of oil that were gushing each day, none of them successful for months, during which the devastation to wildlife and marine life as well as to the economic and health of the people in the Gulf region was immeasurable.

Environmental sustainability involves maintaining the factors and practices that contribute to the environment on a long-term basis (BusinessDictionary.com, 2010.) It is crucial to study this field because the health of the planet and the people who reside here are directly affected by such practices.  It has been demonstrated during the years of the Bush administration that when corporations who are motivated by profit are left to their own devices when it comes to self-regulating, what is most beneficial to people falls by the wayside in the interest of the corporation’s executives and stockholders.

My values regarding the environment place an emphasis on protecting the planet including wildlife, marine life, and human life rather than the interests of big business.  I believe that global climate change is occurring and that we all must do whatever we can to slow down this process and protect the environment.  Recycling and trying to avoid using plastic is an important contribution that I personally can make; as an animal-lover, it broke my heart to see what happened to the marine life and wildlife New Orleans after the oil spill.  Many people I know believe in the supremacy of humans over animals and view animals as objects to suit human need and entertainment.  I don’t believe in using animals for our entertainment, including circuses and marine life shows.  In addition, I believe that we all have an obligation to contribute to maintaining the health of our environment, such as not littering, not cutting down trees, and not developing every area of open space that exists.  Many human values interfere with environmental sustainability, including and especially people who do not believe in global warming.  Businesses that are reluctant to follow regulations limiting the release of greenhouse gases into the environment are such examples.  Many people who feel that global warming is simplya hoax continue to avoid recycling, continue to litter, and resist green energy methods.

The documentary Gasland describes “fracking”, the Halliburton-developed technology that drills far beneath the earth in order to recover natural gas, and chillingly demonstrates how the process has completely contaminated the water supply in the areas in which it exists.  It literally causes people to be able to light their water on fire and the water is so toxic that it is undrinkable and has resulted in numerous cancers and deathswherever it has been implemented.  (Fox, 2010).

Another environmental hazard has been black lung disease, which has affected miners who have spent years drilling for coal for generations because that is the only source of income in areas like West Virginia.  These miners put themselves at risk of developing this disease as well as the risks inherent in the field of mining itself.  Drilling so far into the earth’s surface and going underground to retrieve coal is life-threatening and was most recently demonstrated in Chile where 33 miners were trapped for nearly two months underground.  The consequence of this situation could have been deadly, and miraculously the miners were all rescued safely.  However, the long-term health risks of coal mining have been documented for years and have resulted in many lawsuits due to the health problems, often leading to fatalities on the part of the minors.  People do what they have to in order to make a living, but surely it would benefit the field of mining and the people who depend on it if more safety practices and regulations were both developed and enforced since as recent mining accidents have demonstrated, often the companies who are operating the mines are in violation of safety and health regulations to begin with and have suffered no consequences.

References:

Carnegie Mellon. (2003). Environmental literacy. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from Environmental Decision-Making, Science And Technology: http://telstar.ote.cmu.edu/environ/m1/s1/index.shtml

Environmental sustainability.(2010). Retrieved November 14, 2010, from Business Dictionary.com: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/environmental-sustainability.html

Farlex. (2010). Environmental Science Definition. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from The Free Dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/environmental+science

Fox, J. (Director). (2010). Gasland [Motion Picture].

Science and technology. (2010, October 29). Retrieved November 14, 2010, from United States Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/index.html

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