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Giang Nguyen
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These articles were really interesting to read. They show that racism and discrimination extend to the very air we breathe. In the VICE article, the number was too discerning and too convincing: “****African Americans account for 70 percent of all of the deaths in Louisiana so far. They make up just 32 percent of the population.” The fact that oil companies tried to suspend the enforcement of environmental laws during COVID with the excuse of short-staffing was mind-blowing to me. It just shows how much of an influence firms can have over our policies and they exacerbate the racial inequalities.**** ****One thing I notice that may explain why we still have a long way to fight environmental racism is that the environmental movement is still very white. We need more diverse representation in the environmental policy and conservation sector. I also would love to discuss how environmental racism is not one size fits all - it can take place in many forms and on many scales. For example, rich countries export their trash and dump them in developing countries, most likely poor Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. This is an example of how environmental inequality and colonialism are so much intertwined with each other. It’s also ironic how rich countries are the ones that push for climate change policies, telling poorer countries to do better, but they themselves are just trying to push the consequences of their actions out of sight.****
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2022 on Last Post for the Semester at Jolly Green General
First of all, when I was reading through the Waxman-Markey climate bill, I noticed that they have must have made a lot of compromises regarding their energy goals. For example, it only required that 6 percent of electricity come from renewables by 2012 and 20 percent of electricity to come from renewables by 2020. Looking from a 2022 perspective, this may not be enough for us to meet our climate goals. However, at the time the bill was written, it provided an important opportunity for the government to finally cap and trade emissions. Secondly, the paper made clear that under any approaches, low-income families are the ones to benefit the most. However, this is also the group of people that are really resistant to these kinds of legislative changes (according to the paper we read on Tuesday). I wonder why. Is it because of politics or education?
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
All of these papers point out that the link between air pollution and respiratory issues is there. The evidence is concrete, yet we don't see a lot of changes in policies or behaviours on a corporate and individual level. I think the first reason may be that these negative effects take a long time to realize. It may be after 30 years that the people recognize that they have really bad lungs because they live in a polluted area. As a result, when they make a decision now, they don't take that long-term possibility into consideration yet. Secondly, if the people are sick because of pollution, the money to pay for that healthcare is usually on the patients themselves or the governments. Firms that are responsible for carbon emissions don't have to bear that healthcare costs, so it's reasonable that they don't have the health effects of pollution in mind when they make a decision. Especially, a lot of places that are heavily polluted are also low-income and the people there have no choice but to work under those conditions. There are a few things that I'm curious about after reading the paper. I wonder if there is evidence on how air pollution affects a healthy person, maybe a similar study like this but on a healthy group of participants. I'm also curious about how we can put a dollar value on the health consequences of air pollution. Should we do it in terms of healthcare cost, avoided deaths, etc...?
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
First of all, the papers bring up an important point that we are not sure of how the Earth will react to a rise in atmospheric CO2. This ties in well with what we have discussed in class about maximum sustainable yield and it reinforces that all of our estimations may be wrong, that we may have already gone past the point where the amount of CO2 is past the threshold that earth can handle. This calls for immediate mitigating actions. Secondly, I agree with what Shrag says about climate solutions: "any solutions will be incomplete." Any climate solutions are not meant to solve climate change by themselves, but to play a part in the collective effort. I think a common point I often hear from electric car critics, for example, is that they are supposed to be environmentally friendly, but they still generate XXX amount of emissions. However, in my opinion, the point of using electric cars is not to eliminate emissions altogether, but to reduce them. Shrag's point sums up really well how we should view climate solutions.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2022 on Papers for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Costello and Ovando made a good point when they pointed out that developing countries are the ones that have the poorest fishery management, but at the same time, are most vulnerable to climate change. I think that they missed the fact that a lot of the pollution that developing countries face are caused by developed countries. For example, I know that China has oil drills in disputed waters of Southeast Asian countries, causing oil spills and severely damaging the fish population, which negatively affects the fishing industry of these poor countries. I'm also curious about how governments that implement RBFM or any kind of restricted fishing policies deal with equity issues. There are marginalized groups, such as indigenous people, who contribute little to overfishing and ocean pollution, and to them, fish means much more than just food. I wonder if it is fair to subject them to the same policies that we are imposing on regular fishers.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2022 on Paper for Thursday at Jolly Green General
First of all, I'm not surprised that similar to other developed countries, China is growing at such a fast rate but not at the expense of its own natural resources, but other countries, in this case, Brazil's resources. Also, the article shows how big a part globalization plays in our life. I don't think a normal consumer in China would associate the meat they eat every day with deforestation in a country that is on the other side of the world. I believe this kind of lack of knowledge/ignorance is a huge part of the problem. I'm curious about what the future for the Amazon forest is going to look like. We have Brazil and 8 other countries that share the forest, who are also cutting down trees for their own agriculture. Now we have China which is buying land, investing in infrastructure and taking ownership of the Amazon. Especially through COVID, Brazil has become even more reliant on trade relations with China. I personally think if everyone keeps putting their benefits first like we are seeing now(which is likely), it will be hard to control deforestation.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2022 on Reading for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I want to talk more about the part where he said "how you are going to explain to the Chinese that they shouldn't burn the coal, even living at their standard of living they shouldn't bum the coal." I think now aside from economic reasons, government corruption is also a very big reason why sustainability is a paradox. For example, in Vietnam, we have a project that a Japanese company offered to work with the Vietnamese government to clean an infamously dirty river in the capital city using an innovative energy. Everything went well and the river was turned clean to the point that you can swim in it. However, right after the Japanese left, the Vietnamese government dumped sewage into the river and everything was back to square one. Their reason was like there was no other way/ they didn't have enough facilities to treat sewage. So now with globalization, a country has more resources/funding to become more sustainable. However, corruption is the biggest thing that stops a lot of progress from happening.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2022 on Readings for Thursday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 19, 2022