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Lecture

The Environment

6 pages68 viewsFall 2010

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC103H1
Professor
Greene

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The Environment
November 16
technology & the environment intertwined
- nuclear bombs over japan (hiroshima), 200,000 killed
- provides divide in periods
- naive optimism (before bomb)
- technology could do no bad
- after hiroshima people began to question advances in technology
- before people revered science and scientists
- oppehheimer created nuclear bomb - even he feared its power
- disasters due to technology made people fear the power of tech
- ie gas leak at pesticide plant in india, chernobyl, exxon crude oil leak
technology - application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life
normal accident - recognizes that the very complexity of modern tech ensures they
will inevitable fail though in unpredictable way (charles perow)
- computer freezes, etc
risk society - society in which tech distributes danger and advantage among all
social groups. some categories more exposed than others (ulrich beck)
- mounting environmental threats
- global warming, greehouse effect, endangered species
new environment created need for new fuels - gasoline, natural gases
- burning them releases carbon dioxide - allows heat to be trapped in
atmosphere
- concentration of co2 in air very related to temperature of earth
- temp increased sharply in past 20-30 years due to industrialization
- warmer temps leads to more water evaporation, harsher storms, more
flooding, more erosion
- oceans rise due to warmer water expanding and polar caps melting
- small rise in oceans would result in .5% of US and 12% of egypt to flood
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Genetic Pollution
genetic pollution - the health and ecological dangers that may result from
artificially splicing genes together
recombinant dna - a technique that involves artificially joining bits of dna
from a donor to the dna of a host
scientists able to slpice dna and genes into other animals to combine and
make new species
using splicing allows plants to develop resistance to freezing, produce more
crops, etc
some areas of technology can help production and health of plants, humans
can potentially cause danger due to genetic pollution
when new species enters an environment it can alter itself to the
environment, can be dangerous
"superbugs", "super weeds", "supervirus" - develop immunities
only seen as threat/environmental problem if we identify it as such
- social and political process
- some people dispute the problems
- contested phenomenon
- only recognized as problem once socially identified as one
- global warming
- theory proposed over 100 years ago
- only when environmental movement (70s) did it become identified
- within 20 years become an issue for normal people
- research/funding for it
- mass media promoted it
- summer of 1988 - worst drought in a century, food shortage, forest fires, heat
- ny times drew line with global warming and heat
- people began to express concern over global warming
- most north americans thought using nonrenewable fuels could have
disasterous effects in late 80s
1994 - people less concerned with global warming
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