Anthropology: Scarcity

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To live in an era where humans are pushing the limits of the resources provided by the Earth is an issue that lies in a dusty corner. Not many individuals are showing concern about the future that we are so greatly effecting by our consumptions. However, it is not the human race as a whole who is equally eating away this planet, it is certain cultures. These mass consumptions are causing an environmental crisis, specifically resource depletion and pollution, (Bodley, 103). So, why is it that these consumptions are not equally spread across countries? This pertains to the scarcity of power. The social structure on Earth is not equal, and social stratification continues to become more defined.

The obvious reason why the environment’s health is being neglected is largely due to economic greed. For instance, take China’s environmental disaster of the degradation of the Huai River Basin. The main concern is the contamination of water that nearly 190 million people are forced to drink. This problem is caused by numerous factories, such as chemical and tanning companies, that establish their location along China’s rivers, where it eases their problems of dumping waste, (Cohen 33-47). Therefore, they have the option of dumping their waste directly into the water source. The Yellow River is the longest river in the world, and sadly, it is located in China. In return, “two-thirds of its water is considered unsafe to drink, and 10 percent is classified as sewage,” (Cohen, 39). This is one of many water sources damaged in China. China attempts to “treat” the water using chemicals that are harmful for human consumption as well. It is a lose-lose situation for many of the residents in China, especially the lower class.

It is sad that those who have access to resources take them for granted. Natural resources are being neglected, and they will never be replenished, just like the water sources in China. Many populations throughout the world do not have access to such...
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