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Environmental Values: Position Paper

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An ​environmental value system​ (EVS for short) is a way of thinking that molds the way a person (or group of people) view an environmental issue such as pollution, climate change or deforestation… A system is defined by 3 factors: an ​input​, a ​process​, and an ​output​. An ​input​ is what influences a person to think one way or another in the first place. Inputs include your education, your culture, religion, parents, the media, society, politics, economics and much more. They are what define you as a person. A ​process​ is how you analyze and a judge an environmental issue (for good or for bad) based on your inputs. An ​output​ is the outcome of a process. It is the decision and/or action a person takes after an opinion on the environmental issue has been made. There are 3 values: ​ecocentrism, anthropocentrism, ​and​ technocentrism. Ecocentrics, also referred to as nature-centered or life-centered, are people that have an intrinsic value to nature. They are very attached to nature in the sense that they restrain themselves on consumption of resources. Considered to be pessimists, they don’t believe that technology will solve any environmental issue.

Technocentrics (or technology-centered) on the other hand, are more optimistic. They believe that technological progress will suffice and provide solutions to environmental issues. They do not have an intrinsic view of nature, rather that humans can use all of Earth’s resources as it is there to benefit us. Their goal is to boost the economy, progress technologically. Anthropocentrics are more people-oriented, hence “people-centered”. They straddle between ecocentrism and technocentrism, believing that economic growth is necessary, and the resources may be used but with purpose. They set rules and laws to protect the environment (nature as well as the people).

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My Personal EVS and Inputs

I have always lived in an urban setting, constantly surrounded by the latest new gadgets and technologies. I have been brought up in a society that heavily relies on these innovative technologies, whether it is to communicate (smartphones), use personally (Soda Stream), or play around (VR set), we are taught to embrace high-tech and to operate or use it. Because of my home and school education, I see technology as a science of the future, that can help solve the growing problems and obstacles in the world. I also believe that market and economic growth are essential for the development of a country. However; I believe that a lot of the problems we are facing today are caused because we do not control our resources and our waste. I believe that laws and regulations must be applied, and we should be considerate and moderate as we depend on nature to survive (plants and animals provide food, lakes, rivers, and oceans provide water…). I see myself as a mix of all aspects (eco-anthro-and-techno-centric), being especially close to the environmental manager. Many things have shaped my opinion and how I view the world. As previously stated, my education and parents contributed a big part: I learned about the dangers of certain chemicals or materials, pollution, waste, the 4Rs (which, to me, was the first lesson that showed me how I myself can contribute) and much more at school. At home, we would separate our waste (recyclable or not), pay attention to what we bought… The media made me aware of environmental issues around the world. I wouldn’t say politics, the economy, or even my religion have shaped my EVS as I was never truly involved or gave much thought.

Environmental Issues Air Pollution Air pollution is caused by the waste we produce, and the energy we use (carbon, fuel…)and is bad for a number of reasons. It’s toxic and poisonous, and causes many infections, diseases and sickness such us lung cancer. It damages humans health, the animals and the ecosystems along with it. It is also a main actor in climate change, more specifically global warming because of the carbon and methane released into the air. I believe actions must be taken to prevent more harm, and that technology could very well help in some way: electric cars. People could use public transportation or low emitting vehicles, they can reduce their plastic consumption because burning the plastic later on is extremely unsafe. Climate Change Pollution plays a big role in climate change. It destroys/ damages our ozone shield allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate and heat our planet (+0.9^c in 2017). Global warming is extremely dangerous as it will cause sea level to rise therefore coastal countries are in danger of disappearance, animals from those islands risk extinction… Other countries are affected too – Ras Al Khaimah, an emirate in the UAE has an average temperature of about 45^c, but snowed in 2017.

Overpopulation

Our world is constantly growing and is becoming increasingly hard to control. It will become harder to control air pollution (more people means more waste), control of waste, control of global warming… It is a domino effect if you will as one thing will always to lead to another. Not only will it affect the environment, but an increase of population is also a danger to themselves: more tensions that will lead to wars, more sicknesses (HIV, AIDS…). But an increase in population could also lead to a massive progression in science, medicine, and technology. I believe that these progressions could be achieved without putting our environment at risk. No More Potable Water People need water to potable water to survive; fortunately, we live on a planet made up of about 75% of water (71% to be exact). Potable water should be free from disease and organisms, and this is obtainable with 3 main steps: sedimentation​ when they leave the water so that heavy particles may set down, filtration ​when the water is filtered to remove smaller particles, and finally, disinfection ​when they sterilize the water with chlorine and ozone (both of which are pretty common on our blue planet) to kill off bacteria. I believe that with technological advances, everyone will be able to drink properly and with no harm. We have all we need to drown the population with water, the resources needed, and some countries are financially stable enough to have a few (from 500,000 to 1.5 million dollars). What are we waiting for? Endangered Species Countless species are becoming endangered, even extinct because of our careless ways, whether intentional or not. I believe we should do our best to conserve the wild life by creating animal sanctuaries or reserves. Greenpeace – a non-governmental organization – for example, brought millions of people together in a fight against whaling, sea-pollution and over-fishing in an attempt to remove the whales from the “red-list” (threatened/endangered species).

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