ENVS 001 Final Exam Essay Questions
ENVS 001 Final Exam Essay Questions
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This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by Lily Abrams on Saturday January 9, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to at University of Vermont taught by in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 55 views.
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Date Created: 01/09/16
Essay #1 Beginning in the 1960s/70s, a new wave of environmental policies arose in the United States. Throughout the last few decades, those environmental policies have been amended as well as new policies being created. The first major environmental policy in the US was the Clean Air Act. The clean air act of 1970 was created under the Nixon administration regarding air quality. The act regulated emissions, specifically seven criteria pollutants. These pollutants are SOx, NOx, metals, CO, particulates, Pb, and VOCs. This act was created due to new scientific research and social movements in the US and globally. Throughout the 1960s, people were becoming more environmentally aware.One study in Hawaii, the Mauna Loa Curve, showed that CO2 in the atmosphere is resulting in climate change. Also, Rachel Carson brought attention to the excessive use of DDT, which is a pesticide. DDT greatly effected the bird population and Rachel Carson named the following spring “a silent one,” due to entire bird populations missing from Cape Cod. With the new scientific knowledge and Rachel Carson’s research, the idea of climate change was beginning to form. The US government implemented the clean air act following NEPA, which are the beginning platforms of environmental policy in the US. Although the CAA reduced the seven criteria emissions, acid rain was brcoming a huge problem. Due to the use of Sox and Nox, acid rain became a major concern. In 1990, the clean air act was amended. Fifty percent of the chemicals had to be reduced by 2010 as well as the new policy for cap and trade. Companies were given a limit on certain types of chemicals that can be emitted per year. These were called “pollution allowances” which was a base level for how much each company can pollute. IN 2007, Massachusetts fought the EPA to make CO2 a criteria pollutant. Massachusetts won and CO2 was put on the list of criteria pollutants. Another amendment that regulated air emissons was that the CAFÉ standards were raised. The reason why the US continued to amend the Clean Air Act was because of new scientific information, as well as changes made globally regarding air pollution. The Vlastok ice core data showed a correlation between rising temperatures and the CO@ emissions. Scientists decided that climate change was occurring and there needed to be change in regulations. Also, years after the clean air act was created, the Chernobyl power plant exploded. This resulted in Germany changing their policies and shutting down the majority of the power plants in the country. The US potentially amended the clean air act due to this watershed event. Although there have been recent amendments regarding the clean air act, I believe that there will be more to come in the future. In the future, the clean air act will be amended so that more regulations are put on the criteria pollutants and possibly adding more pollutants, such as coal and pesticides. There are already new policies being created, such as the Clean Power Plan, which Obama introduced. By 2030, every state will have to reduce their carbon emissions by 30%. I believe that there will be more amendments to come as well as new policies to combat climate change. Essay #3 Renewable energy has been on the rise and is only becoming more accessible and is continuing to replace nonrenewable resources. Three driving forces that have pushed for the rise of renewables are technology, energy security and peak oil. New technological advances have made renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, more accessible. Wind energy is becoming cheaper, thus more companies and switching over to wind energy. Energy security and independence is a major issue for the US because of our relationship with the Middle East. For our nation’s security we have began to decrease the amount of oil we receive from the Middle East. Although we are fracking in parts of the US, renewable energy is beginning to rise above oil due to the decrease in price. Lastly, we have reached peak oil, which means that the accessible oil has been exhausted. Since oil is a finite resource, companies have begun to invest in renewable energy instead of continuing to deplete the Earth’s oil. A specific policy that address sustainable energy in the US is the newly proposed carbon tax for Vermont. The carbon tax is an incentive for the state to invest in renewable energy, otherwise people will be taxed for the carbon that they use. This policy will hopefully reduce the amount of carbon used in the state. An intended consequence of this policy would be that 10% of the taxes go to an energy independence fund which helps low income families weatherize their homes. Also, 90% of the taxes will go to tax rebates which will help Vermont build local economics. However, the carbon tax does have unintended consequences. For example, gas stations in the state of Vermont will go out of business which will lead to unemployment. Also, people who live on the boarder of another state might go to get gas there. This would impact the poor because some people would not be able to afford gas to drive their kids to school. Essay #4 Wen Stephenson believed that activism was part of Thoreau’s nature and that he was more focused of human rights rather than environmental activism. Wen notices Thoreau’s focus on institution and that radical behavior is necessary to change institutions. Also, Wen touched upon the idea that civil disobedience was an American pastime, therefore the radical behavior was explained. However, Bob believed that Thoreau was the first American environmentalist and had a deep connection to nature. Therefore, Thoreau did not want to fight against institution, but took an individual route in preserving the land. Also, Bob stated that Thoreau was not a radical abolitionist because he did not join any organizations regarding civil rights. This is where Stephenson and Taylor’s arguments collide. Stephenson believes that Thoreau wanted to fight the institution and demanded change, whereas Taylor believed that Thoreau did not care about the government, but more about preserving nature. I believe that both individual and institutional change is important, however they both have their flaws as well. I believe that individual change is how a person reacts to a certain situation. For example, a person may choose to change their lifestyle in order to combat climate change. They might use their car less, recycle and compost when possible, and choose to buy local food. The reason why this personal is promoting individual change is because they are changing their lifestyle as well as influencing other. When a single person begins to influence others, such movements can lead to institutional change. For example, Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat on the bus. By doing so, so created an entire civil rights movement, which led to the creation of the Civil Right Act. If everyone is willing to stand up and demand change, the government will most likely listen. Another example is when the German people took it upon themselves to make Germany more sustainable. Eventually, the government implemented policies regardin renewable energy and today, Germany is one of the leading countries for renewable energy. However, institutional change is necessary because not everyone is willing to change, unless they are forced to. Institutional change is more largescale because it affects an entire nation. It also follows the idea of classical environmentalism where a problem is found and then the scientists and the government work to create a policy that resolves that problem. I believe that individual change is extremely important in starting movements, although institutional change is necessary in regards to the environment because it forces people to make lifestyle changes and learn about what climate change is doing to our Earth I believe that activism plays an important role in combatting climate change because individual actions can lead to institutional change. There needs to be forces of the outside of the government to change what’s happening on the inside. Activists are the people who come face to face with stories from around the world. These stories are the driving forces that promote institutional change. Without activists we would not know as much about how climate change is affecting people around the world.
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