Science and the Environment

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Renowned people of today such as esteemed scientists and author Rachel Carson, Canadian scientist David Suzuki and other experts concern themselves with the issue of environmental sustainability. The relationship between the environment and society is unbalanced nearly to the point of no return because of such a large human population and an economy driven world that is globalizing. The sustainability of the environment is a major concern of the 21st century especially since technology has advanced so fast. Our previous scientific inventions have exploited the earth’s resources much faster than we can restore them, however we must continue seeking solutions because the benefits outweigh the costs. DDT and other pesticides are scientific inventions that eliminate insects and ensure farmers a larger harvest, but don’t take into account the negative polluting effects. Rachel Carson, an expert in zoology and biology, states that these chemicals “should not be called insecticides but biocides” (Carson 421). When scientists and farmers alike promote and use pesticides, they don’t realize that the pollutants embed in the soil and run into the drinking water sources affecting future crops and eventually us. The pesticides harm the whole ecosystem, despite that they are only targeting insects. Similarly, we exploit the earth’s resources as most of our inventions detriment the environment without our realization. An example of the damaging implications is illustrated through Suzuki’s example. Suzuki, an expert in zoology, declared that, “years later, when bird watchers noted the decline of eagles and hawks, biologists investigated and discovered the hitherto unknown phenomenon of “bio magnification,” where by compounds become concentrated as they are ingested up the food chain” (Suzuki 431). This is a prime example of the implications DDT has on the ecosystem. Farmers and scientists did not predict that the chemicals used to exterminate insects would move up the food chain and harm birds of prey. The utilization of pesticides is an example of our exploitation of the earth without having the time and ability to restore as easily. Another chemical known as CFC, chlorofluorocarbon, is harmful to our atmosphere. There are layers to the atmosphere, the troposphere, the air we breathe, and the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is located. The atmosphere and it’s sections are all part of the environment and influence the earth’s well being. Suzuki affirms that, “no one anticipated that because of their stability, CFCs would persist in the environment and drift into the upper atmosphere, where ultra-violet radiation would break off ozone-scavenging chlorine-free radicals” (Suzuki 431). When the chemical was first created, scientists weren’t aware of the ozone layer and thus couldn’t evaluate the negative outcome of such chemicals. The fact that the chemicals are artificial and so ‘stable,’ hints towards the idea of it being too good to be true. The environment does not supply such chemicals naturally because it is not compatible and therefore damaging to our ozone layer. CFCs are usually found in aerosol spray cans, which is another invention that has exploited the earth’s resources without considering the implications. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to fix the ozone layer because the chemicals of the ozone are hazardous down on earth in the troposphere. The best we can do is stop the hole from enlarging by ceasing our use of CFCs and similar products and hope for nature to balance out the compounds needed on its own. With the exponential growth of population our use of synthetic materials has grown as well. We think of our economical needs and wants first before considering the environment. In Andrew Feenberg’s text Questioning Technology, he states that previous scientific inventions include “synthetic fibers for cotton, plastics for wood, increased use of aluminum, air conditioners, more powerful automobiles and escalating...
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