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Chapter 4

Material Concerns Chapter 4 Commentary.doc

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Environmental Studies
ENVS 2400
Harris Ali

The Principles of prevention is illustrated best by using the field of Preventive Medicine as a case study. The author states that the principles of preventive medicine are embedded in the need “to prevent illness itself by promoting health in the patient, and increasing his or her natural resistance to disease.” Conceptualising the environment as the patient and the environmentalists, as the doctors, we can prescribe actions and mandates that will serve as positive inputs towards the goal of minimising environmental degradation and preserving our environment for our children’s children. A Preventive approach to environmentalism then serves as a "be safe" rather than "be sorry" attitude to the environment. The author points out that prevention approaches are a directional strategy in terms of how a network of causes and effects are structured to accommodate most if not all the known positive and negative feedback loops in that particular biosphere. The present economic paradigms we operate in today, dictates that for a nation to continue to develop, it must focus its labor and resources towards expanding their economy. The author speaks of the industrial economy in material terms as a linear flow of materials into the economy that are processed into commercial goods and out of the economy, materials exit/flow as solid, aqueous or gaseous states of waste matter into the natural environment. The demand for specific goods and services may increase over time and these market demands drive manufacturers to return to the environment for the necessary supply of raw materials needed to manufacture more products for profit. Manufacturers can command a higher price for the same product. In micro economics when the demand by a consumer for a product increases, the price increases in relation and consequently when the supply is higher than the demand, the price for that particular good or service drops. This decision forces environmentalists to acknowledge the truth that a country’s economy can only develop by harnessing its natural resources to create infrastructures and goods for sale and services. The author further states that eliminating the demand for services is not legitimate or viable basis for any environmental management strategy. So manipulating the supply and demand of particu
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