Commit Sociology - Sociology and the Environment.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Christian O.Caron

- Externality = when cost is externalized from private companies to the state, ex. when private companies harm the environment but taxpayers pay for the cleanup (176) - Sustainable development = industrialization strategy that attempts to address economic, social, and environmental concerns in a balanced way by meeting the needs of the present generation without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs (177) - After World War II, society focussed on how to distribute goods such as education equally among people (177) - Risk society thesis = contemporary societies have become preoccupied with issues related to the distribution of social “bads” such as the externalities produced by industry (177) - Environmental concern in Canada seems to follow an economic contingency logic where more people think environmental issues are important in good economic times than in bad ones (177) - Even though lots of people care about environmental issues, they often don’t mold their behavior accordingly (178) - This might be because such issues are “back of the mind” rather than “front of the mind” because these issues are less tangible and immediate (178) - Future discounting = people find it difficult to give the same amount of attention to the future as they do to the present (178) - Jevon’s paradox = as we become more efficient in our use of natural resources, the price falls, so we use more of them (178) - Social construction of issues: people assemble to complain about a problem, then the media publicize the problem (179) - Non-renewable resources are expensive because they are scarce (181) - We have reached peak oil production and production will decline in the future, and the price we pay for extraction from the oil tar sands will sooner be higher than the price of the oil (181) - Easter island used to be habitable and had lots of forests, but the people who lived there used up all its resources to construct statues, and now it is barren and uninhabitable (182) - In Canada, natural resources are owned by the government, which issues a license for a private corporation to extract natural resources and is paid a royalty for this right (183) - The royalty is usually a percentage of the revenue (183) - The royalty on oil inAlberta is low enough that income tax rates are low and there is no PST (183) - Heavy dependence on the royalties rather than the taxpayers makes the government less loyal to its citizens and more loyal to the petroleum industry so it gets less regulated (183) - Resource curse = when valuable resources are abundant, democracy is discouraged because private companies provide government with most of its revenue so they exert excessive political influence (184) - Many environmental threats are international, so cooperation among states is required to address them (184) - Polluter pays principle = the party threatening the environment should pay the costs, so this serves as a disincentive for harming the environment (186) - Generally industries and states oppose command and control approaches where the government issues a command to industry to adopt environmentally healthy practices (186) - Pollution pe
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