Top-Rated Free Essay
Americans have increasingly divulged themselves in over-consumption. This escalating desire for physical goods is initiating the depletion of our resources and the destruction of our environment. The people of the United States, in their quest for material products, are causing catastrophes, such as the greenhouse effect, hazardous wastes, and a growing number of landfills. This in turn pollutes the planet and catalyzes global warming.
￼ ￼ ￼ ￼ ￼ Greenhouse effect has been reeking havoc with the natural balance of the planet. The major agents contributing to the greenhouse effect are the product modern society has created for our pleasure. In reality, these products are causing the United States, as well as, the rest of the world, major difficulties. AAA is one company that is using ‘affluenza’ to its benefit. AAA was against the 1990 Clean Air Act, one of the most important environmental laws of the decade. A press release from its government and public affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., claimed that the bill would “threaten the personal mobility of millions of Americans and jeopardize needed funds for new highway construction and safety improvement”. Instead of promoting legislation that would improve the quality of our environment for everyone, AAA would rather build more highways so more people will purchase automobiles and insurance and therefore further pollute our air supply.
In addition, the effects of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have caused the depletion of the polar ice caps. The greenhouse effect causes the planet to warm, increasing the climate of the Arctic region and causing the glaciers to melt. The main cause for the rapid warming of the Earth is industrial pollution. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned the world of the consequences of pollution such as: the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, leading to rising sea levels. It predicts more extreme droughts, floods and storms and significant changes in the functioning of critical ecological systems such as coral reefs and forests. Warmer and wetter conditions would increase the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. And the inundation of low-lying islands and coastal areas could lead to the displacement of hundreds of millions of people. The climate panel’s report says that sea-level rise could cause the disappearance of vast swaths of low-lying regions, and along with them various animal species. It suggests that crop production and aquaculture would be threatened, and with them the livelihood and food security of many inhabitants. And it points out that the cyclones and monsoons (hurricanes and tornadoes)… could become even more frequent and intense.
Through this detailed description of possible outcomes due to extensive pollution, the planet would suffer tremendously from the excessive consuming of our affluenza-strickened nation. Not only do hazardous wastes cause global problems, but they will also continue to be a financial setback unless action is taken to contain them. The events of Chernobyl are a prime example of how costly hazardous waste can be, but more recently a situation has arisen in Silver Valley, Idaho. The problems caused by a century of mining in the Silver Valley have the attention of the top officials in the U.S. Environmental Protection agency (“EPA Director”). Not only has the near-by soil been contaminated, but also, the agency recently proposed a 359 million-dollar cleanup plan to address metal contamination from historical mining practices in the Silver Valley (“EPA director”). Nuclear power plants fear lawsuits due to their production of hazardous waste. In a move designed to pave the way for the next generation of nuclear power plants, Congress approved a plan that protects the nuclear industry from lawsuits arising from any catastrophic accidents. The Bush administration saw liability protection as a necessary step before companies will build new nuclear plants, which is a cornerstone of the president’s energy policy. Under this plan, the government would pay for any power plant accident whose claims and cleanup cost more than $9.4 billion (Wilkie). This legislation assures nuclear power plants that the government supports their long-term growth. This, in turn, shows that the demand for electricity is deeply rooted in affluenza and will continue to strive in further generations.
Americans’ need for constant stimulation has caused an overload of garbage. There are more landfills now then ever before. We are constantly looking for more space to dump our ‘old’ possessions, even if it means tapping into our forest preserves. In Wisconsin, the state is suing a local landfill company. A state Department of Justice complaint said “Material Recovery Services violated solid waste laws by not removing liquid waste, failing to property close and cap parts of the landfill and exceeding yard waste capacity limits” (“State Accuses”). The increase in waste has caused landfill companies to surpass their legal limit. This problem needs to be handled now or there will be no room for garbage at all.
Global warming has become more intense and pollution of the planet has severely increased. The greenhouse effect, hazardous wastes, and the large number of landfills have all contributed to an unhealthy Earth. Sustainable development is needed in order to break the cycle of harmful practices of the past. To attain this system, action must be taken against political standstills surrounding environmental issues. It is the responsibility of the industrialized countries, particularly the United States, to ensure the longevity of the Earth for future generations.