Environmental Science Week 3 Assignment

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Chapter 7:
Discussion Questions
1. Suppose that you were engaged in biotechnology, or genetic engineering; what environmental safeguards would you impose on your own research? Are there experiments that would be ethically off-limits for you?

When considering the environmental concerns involved in biotechnology and genetic engineering one can’t help but realize the enormous amount of ways in which the environment can be harmed. It seems that this issue is hard to avoid. However, do we as humans not damage the environment daily, in just about everything we do? Fact is we absolutely do. Considering this, I think the best safeguards to implement, in my opinion, would be to follow strict and ethical laboratory practices, the implication of any tools or resources which may offer protection or precautions during research, proper management of waste product and the disposal thereof, and “creations” be that of helpful and produced from good intentions to aid society rather than to harm or endanger it. As far as experiments being ethically off-limits to me, I would have to say it depends on a personal or duty standpoint. I myself believe that the morality of issue will always be held to debate within society. Everyone has an opinion. One area I would struggle with I believe is human cloning. I question our right to play “God”, and what issues can arise from such. Can we really replace a person? To me it takes away from the identity of an individual. Can we consider a clone to be that of a replacement? I fear, to many, this will be the belief. I have always believed that “God” made some women specifically unable to bare children, because they have the hearts big enough to love a child that is not of their DNA, as they would one of. Such people are necessary for the balance in human life. What will children do who are abandoned, lose their parents prematurely, or given up for adoption for other reasons? If we can clone, what is to stop women from wanting a cloned baby derived from their own DNA? Will we see an increase of newborn deaths, because young mothers felt that nobody would provide for the child anyway and felt it best to end their life rather than force them into a life of suffering? Also, will we see parents of cloned children treat these children like robots or slaves, since they are genetically produced? Would we consider those cloned to be that of human and therefore be granted the same rights and liberties? Will the cloned species feel human, or experience a sense of no identity or a social awkwardness? I believe the effects on family life from such practices will prove to be a downfall in society. Though I do believe, it is the right and moral choice of the person/persons who wish to benefit from such experiments. Technological advancements allow for people to make their personal choices, encourage further advancements, and bring freedom of knowledge to those who desire to learn. Who can say to another person, “Do” or “Don’t”? I don’t believe we have that right. We are not in the position or circumstance of that person therefore we do not the desires driving them in one direction or the other. This is why I am not taking sides on this argument at all. I have my beliefs, concerns, and opinions. However, I do not have any particular proof one way or the other to side either way. I can say, morally I would not be able to be involved in such experiments based on my concerns, but would not be lobbying against those who wish to take part it such. 2. Debate the claim that famines are caused more by human actions (or inactions) than by environmental forces. What scientific evidence would you need to have to settle this question? What hypotheses could you test to help resolve the debate?

Famines can be caused by many things, including natural occurrence (weather, climate, poor crop production, ect.) as well as human influence. Man has no control over Mother Nature. In my opinion, humans are not the cause of famines,...
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