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Hayden Roberts
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All three of these articles revealed and explained the relatively ignored topic of environmental racism. The data presented shows clear trends between higher pollution levels and neighborhoods or sectors where minorities live. The historical redlining paper shows that housing acts from the 1930s still affect minority living standards today. Further, the Vice article shows how such exposures to elevated pollution levels can make populations more susceptible to negative health consequences. Cancer Alley in Louisiana is the perfect example of this. Due to structured inequalities, minorities live disproportionally closer to petrochemical plants, exposing them to harmful chemical pollutants and increasing their susceptibility to viruses such as COVID-19. I find all of this interesting but alarming. Much of America likes to believe that inequalities such as the discriminatory mortgage appraisal practices from the 1930s have been completely dealt with and ended. In reality, the adverse effects from almost a century ago rage on. This makes me wonder about what other environmental inequalities are sneaking under our awareness or are not getting attention from the media.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2022 on Last Post for the Semester at Jolly Green General
This paper outlines a few of the legislative attempts to limit carbon emissions and gives estimations of the costs of such legislation on households. This plan proposed setting a cap on emissions that would become more stringent over time. In outlining the costs to households, it is revealed that middle income households bear the highest cost to the emissions cap. In an optimistic case, this cost is as low as $138, but in a pessimistic case, this cost could be up to $436. Lower and higher income households bear less of this burden, so the questions of the cost should focus on middle class households. How much of the burden are middle class households willing to take on to reduce carbon emissions? Is it justified to throw the burden on the middle class? The answers to these questions may help partly explain why none of these plans have never passed through the Senate.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
All three of these papers highlight the very real and dangerous effects of air pollution on the human body and living standards. These negative effects decrease labor productivity and lead to casualty. The Zhang paper in particular brings another factor into play when it comes to air pollution. It discusses the negative effects of air pollution on cognitive performance. Results on verbal tests and decision making skills both declined when measured in areas with high air pollution. This is important because many of the countries with poor air quality are developing countries. These countries tend to have unequal access to education so negative cognitive performances have compounding effects on the productivity of the countries. This should be discussed more as increasing the productivity of developing countries can serve as a piece in the puzzle of solving the world's inequality. However, in order to address the health problem, we have to first look back to the energy sector to change its emissions protocol. This is a problem as developing countries rely on cheaper forms of energy to fuel their production. These cheaper priced energies are often the sectors that pollute the most. Therefore, incentives must exist for change to occur. The health effects will persist if air quality does not improve.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Schrag’s paper on confronting the climate-energy challenge reveals an alarming picture for future atmospheric temperature levels. The science shows that there will be an unavoidable rise in atmospheric CO2 even if drastic changes are made. This rise has already begun as shown by figures 1 and 2. Schrag mentions that investing more in other forms of energy like nuclear or wind power could help slow down this rise and stabilize CO2 levels at a level much higher level than even today. From my view, even this attempt to slow down CO2 will not be enough. I recently attended a talk from a geology alum who explained that even with the transition away from fossil fuels, petroleum use will continue to rise to match the increasing demand for energy. In this case, CO2 levels will continue to rise even if renewables overtake petroleum. The only good news is that the current oil prices are almost at record high levels. If these prices persist, then a greater push to switch away from petroleum could occur.
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
This article showed the increasing gap between wealthy and developing countries. In the articles that we have read, we are seeing how this gap affects conservation as developing countries tend to use natural resources more recklessly as they depend on heavy consumption to support their economies. This is the case with the fisheries off the coast of developing countries. Wealthier countries have more leeway to implement conservation strategies such as rights-based approaches or RBFM's. Unless developing countries can start to transition to sustainable approaches to fishing, there will be irreversible damage to their fisheries which happen to be in some of the most important regions for fish harvesting. The article suggested some alternative approaches but also stated that none of these approaches on their own would be enough to resolve the issue. I would be very interested in discussing a realistic strategy for developing countries to transition to. Obviously, if this issue were simple, it would be solved.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
It is true that when we think about deforestation and ecosystem degradation in Brazil we often point fingers directly at Brazil. However, this article shows the point that most of these actions taken by Brazil are due to external factors like China. To support its massive economy of production, China looks to other nations to trade for the resources it needs to continue its prosperity. The leaders of Brazil, looking to increase their own role in the international trade game, will always take this opportunity. Brazil does not profit from allowing another country to make these trades with China. Brazil is not necessarily compensated if it chooses a path of conservation, so I can imagine why they choose to destroy the environment. Of course, the question that arises focuses on how Brazil can be incentivized to conserve rather than destroy for profiting trade. I am not totally the best way for this to happen considering there would have to be a lot of different nations involved to compensate for the loss in economic growth.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2022 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
The marine policy paper shows just how easy it could be to implement a policy to increase funding for conservation issues. The previous exit fee of $3.75 was so minuscule that tourists probably did not think much about paying it. Thus, there was a ton of room to increase the fee to a point where tourists are still willing to pay it in order to enjoy the natural beauty of Belize. In terms of travel costs, an increased fee of $20 to $30 still remains minuscule. The focus of tourists will be on flight and hotel costs. Besides, the fee is an exit fee, so tourists have to pay it in order to go home. I think it is unrealistic to think that tourists will not return to Belize because they had to pay a $30 fee upon exit. Belize is an exotic location that people enjoy for its beauty, so I cannot imagine this being a significant issue for tourism.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Solow’s perspective on sustainability leaves me confused about the current state of impoverished countries and sustainability. This could simply be the way I am interpreting his words, but he argues that third world countries are the main problem for sustainability because they are not investing in the future. He states that they are the main problem of population growth, and their focus is on consumption. I would like to know what approaches could be taken to switch these countries’ mindset to that of investment considering resources are often lacking in these countries. It is hard to think about investing for future generations when current generations are struggling day to day.
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 19, 2022