Local to Global Inequalities
Why should we study the environment
Industrial production has a relationship with our environment and our lives, the power plant
effects our environment
Canada has always been a resource based nation
Urban life, once you live in a city you’re not exposed to the life. The city is completely human
The car has very strongly effected the environment we live in.
Why study the environment 2
Our health is closely tied to environment, the rise in cancer rates is closely linked to
environmental factors. Work and prosperity, what is more important, to create strong and
stable economy with a lot of jobs to gain income to gain education, but massive industrial
production has effects on the environment. Can we have this and good environment, or can we
not have both, what is more important?
Individual vs. Social responsibility, were all implicated, we all consume a tremendous amount of
stuff that it costs to make, we all drive the pollutes, the more we do that the more were
implicated in the decline in the environment around us
We need to think about the environment a set of commons, commons refer to someone that
no one owns but we all use, for example water, air, soil etc.
Problem: We also abuse these commons, we pollute the air, we drive around the city and
produce car emissions, we build new sub divisions and shopping centers and cut down
agricultural forests etc.
The Commons 2
Problem II: transaction between 2 parties that have a consequence on a un intended third
party. Problems are created by a few and the consequences are for many. An example is that
one company in Stratford pollutes, now all the residents in the town have the breath polluted
air and drink contaminated water.
-The costs of abuse on commons are not paid by the abuser, for example now since all the
residents of Stratford are sick, the government pays for the health cost rise. Social Change and Environment attitudes
Industrial capitalism until 1960/1970s
Preoccupied with growth and production
High levels of ‘unfiltered pollution’
Excessive use of pesticides
Greater awareness of harmful effects of excessive growth
Ozone depletion and climate change: early example of scientists and government
working together to sole environmental crisis
Sustainability concerns dominate today: global warming, species extinction, climate
change, renewable energy etc.
Environmental concerns may have eclipsed other equity concerns
Some sociological perspectives
Risk Society (Beck,1992)
Natural Vs. Manufactured risks: We need to dinstinguish between them, the world has alwaus
had natural risks, like tornados, earth quakes, odd weather etc.
Manufactured risks now more important than natural risks: What we see now is that a lot of
natural risks are manufactured, by the way we live creates natural risks
Risks affect us all (fallout from a nuclear accident doesn’t care if you’re in a mansion or in the
slums): Although there is no class safe from a natural disaster, people with high amount of
resources have better ways of ensuring and protecting themselves from risks. Although the risk
might affect us all, our ability to manage the risk is different
Some sociological perspectives 2
Environmental decline, not tangible or immediately visible for most of us:
Back of mind issue
Focus shifts depending on economic conditions
Who represents environmental issues and how (e.g. in the media or politics) For a thousand years, during the non industrial life, the surface temperature was relatively
All scientific evidence says its real and serious
Global Warming: Gradual worldwide increase in average surface temperature.
- As temperatures rise, more water evaporates:
- More evaporation causes more rainfall and bigger storms, which lead to more soil
erosion, which in turn destroys cultivable land:
- Warming melts ice, causing the sea level to rise, which increases the chance of
flooding in heavily populated coastal regions:
Topic: The Environment and Globalization
How did we get here?
Human activity: Global industrialization, in lots of countries industrialization is new and
the regulations are low
Last 50 years have changed the ecosystems more than any other period
60% of the worlds regional ecosystems are degraded or used ot the point of
We draw resources from earth (oil, wind power, hydro power), and we put waste back
into it (pollution, plastic in the ocean, etc.)
Topic: The Environment and Globalization 2
As we use more resources, finding new ones is getting more difficult,
Current economic activity = 133% earths capacity, this means was working beyond that we can
The ease of global interaction (movement of goods, people, information) has made a massive
difference in accelerating this trend: this is made worse by t