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Lecture 10

Lecture 10: The Environment

3 Pages

Course Code
SOCI 1002
Tamy Superle

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Lecture 10: Social Movements and the Environment The Environment  The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, and survival of organisms  Human society is among the root causes of environmental problems Environmental Issues in Sociology  Human society is among the root causes of environmental problems  Environmental problems are social constructions  The decisions about solutions and about the distribution of costs associated with solutions are social  Science and technology alone are not likely to solve environmental problems  Sociological research can contribute to better understanding and to solutions for environmental problems Social Construction of Environmental Problems  Environmental problems are created or social constructed o Those involved are policy-oriented scientists, the environmental movement mass media, and respected organization, etc. o Are contested and even unequivocally dismissed by opponents, such as industrialists, politicians, scientists, and right-wing organizations Environmental Sociology  Sociology is interested in all levels of the environmental debate  Debates over the existence and extent of environmental damage, i.e. climate change  Who is recognized as an expert  Responsibility for damage  How to fix the problem  Who and how to pay for it  Social change required Human/Social Influences of the Environment The Social Distribution of Environmental Risk  When disaster strikes, economically and politically disadvantaged people suffer most because their circumstances render them most vulnerable  The advantaged place the disadvantaged in vulnerable situations in order to avoid own risk  Environmental racism: tendency to heap environmental dangers on the disadvantaged and especially on members of disadvantaged racial minority groups The Canadian Case  In addition to race, class also structures exposure to environmental risk in Canada  Large steel mill in Sydney, Nova Scotia poured cancer-causing chemical into tar ponds, situated on the border of the poorest section of Sydney  Result: Sydney has highest rate of cancer of any city in Canada, while people in poorest neighbourhood have highest cancer rate in the city The Developing Countries (Global South)  Underprivileged face more environmental dangers than the privileged  Several developing countries industrializing rapidly but cannot afford pollution control, so little anti-pollution regulations  Lack of regulations draw multinational corporations to situate some of their operations in developing countries Global Food Crisis  According to the World Bank, 44 million people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty between June 2010 and April 2011 because of rising food prices  The global price of food rose 36% between April 2010 and 2011  At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day Rich Countries (Global North)  Over
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