Increasing Carbon Footprint in American Samoa

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Supporting Arguments
  • Concise Statement on Position
  • Discussion of Your Position Supported by Relevant and Multiple Sources of Information


American Samoa, also known as the “Motu o Fiafiaga” is a chamber of seven islands located in the Pacific, near the continent of Australia. Praised for its natural beauty, American Samoa’s secluded location has allowed only minimal foreign influences to impact its soil. These lands have solely been the survival kit for their people as it aids them with shelter, food, clothing and all other human necessities. In addition to its lush geographics and conservative outlooks, American Samoa takes pride in its rich Samoan culture. As majestic as these islands pose to be, it is disheartening that these aspects are things of the past.

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As years have prolonged, American Samoa has taken route to modernization. More specifically, they have given in to the influence of foreign delicacies, established the flow of foreign product imports and tampered with nature for advancement in Urban Planning. With this being said, American Samoa’s people raise interest in foreign cultures and lifestyles other than their own. In addition, resources deplete as they face overuse to satisfy the desire of a “modernized” life. With all things in account, American Samoa’s carbon footprint experiences extreme increases annually as its people continue to look further out into the new world.

Supporting Arguments

As a result of seclusion, American Samoa must look to import products from other countries to meet the demands of citizens. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of Australia, costs of imports were estimated at $615 million in the year of 2016. These materials mostly included raw materials for cannery, food, petroleum and mechanical parts. In comparison, American Samoa exports only three commodities, which are: canned tuna, organic food and handicrafts. To be expected, exports only earned $428 million in the year of 2016, only a fraction of exports.

In addition to the imbalance of economic statuses in imports and exports, American Samoa is also home to myriad obese and diabetic populations. According to an article published by Rochelle K. Rose, PhD. and colleagues (2008), rates in men between the ages of 25 to 54 in 1990 recorded 12.9% but increased to a 17.2% in 2002. Simultaneously, the rate of women in the same age group recorded 8.1% in 1990 but then recorded a staggering 16.7% in 2002. In a relevant clinical study conducted by S.Lin and colleagues (PMC, 2013), diabetic trends in a 35 year span manifests that Type 2 Diabetes in men incline in a rate of 2.3% per five years. In addition, the rate of increase calculated among women within the same time span records 2.2% per five years. According to Dr. Joseph Tufa, MD., “In 1980, one in seven of the Samoan population were obese and 3000 were diagnosed diabetic. However, in 2013, one in three of the population were obese and 8000 were known to be diabetic. Surprisingly, 6000 were presumed undiagnosed (Samoa News, 2015).

Other than the economic status and medical perspectives, American Samoa has also tampered with its natural surroundings. As the islands continue to technologize, they also seek advancement in urban planning. Considering that American Samoa’s land mass is mostly communal, it is often that citizens take matters into their own hands and conduct projects without seeking expert advice. Here, they perform the slash and burn method to clear land and deforestation to acquire building materials. According to Dr.Peter Bowler, “Human land use affects soils in the environment and increases the potential for erosion. There is a sharp peak in the amount of soil and sediment erosion after the construction phase of urbanization ('Urbanization and its Human Influence, by Debra Einstein', 2019).

Concise Statement on Position

In the olden days, American Samoa was able to fend for themselves utilizing only the natural resources around them. In fact, they practiced domestication, cultivation and town planning utilizing resources such as tree bark, dirt, animal remains and more. As early settlers, they were preservative as they understood their roles as stewards for the environment. They had minimal amounts of pollution because they utilized organic material, had healthy citizens because they traveled mainly by foot and traded belongings because money did not have a placed value yet. With these efforts, the lands in American Samoa were prosperous and fruitful.

Despite these ancestral practices, we, the Samoan people, exhibit behaviors contrary to what we were taught. Now that we have been introduced to newly created technology, we have become reliant on such inventions. It is widely observed that we have a strong preference of private transportation, even to the shortest of destinations. In addition, we prefer the option of dining out and promote the idea of fast food consumption at a exorbitant rate. Lastly, the desire of economic stability has encouraged us to purchase unnecessary items to please the public eye. With these efforts, we have robbed our natural environment of prosperity and humanity of self-reliance.

Discussion of Your Position Supported by Relevant and Multiple Sources of Information

Energized by fast urbanization, nourishment progress, and progressively stationary ways of life, the plague has developed in parallel with the overall ascent in stoutness. According to the American Diabetes Association, the diabetes dilemma is referred to as the “affluence disease”. In relevance to American Samoa, the sharp increase of citizens has also brought in the increase of other nationalities, cultures, and delicacies. With this much availability, it is inevitable that one will decide to change their diet and test these known delicacies. This will lead to food addiction, obesity, then to significant levels of diabetic people. I strongly believe that a decrease of exposure means a decrease of such epidemic.

In addition to these such exposure, these people also contribute to the widespread of technology. As these inventions are desired by manifolds of people, the more the supply comes flowing into American Samoa. As this happens, we become dependent of them and fall into indolent practices. In addition, we become debtful of trading taxes as we continue to look to the new world and import different items. I am strongly against this because I deem it unnecessary to buy technology that performs things an average human can preform. In addition, it promotes pollution as it requires objects such as: batteries and electricity to operate. Again, the unnecessary usage of nonrenewable resources.

The development of land leads to the depletion of natural resources in terms of deforestation, which increases the chances of erosion. Considering that American Samoa has manifolds of geographic features such as mountains, the tree roots hold the soil into place. If the trees were to be uprooted, the soil will move freely and will empty out to the ocean. In addition to erosion, the organisms that depend on these vegetations are forced to find shelter or food elsewhere. As this prolongs, it is most likely that these organisms will die and become extinct. With great consideration, I do not believe that this is worth the advancement in urban planning. This is because houses can be built overtime, but some resources do not regain growth

While conducting thorough research about the increasing carbon footprint in American Samoa, I have realized the little steps we are able to take to decrease our carbon footprint. Considering that a island-wide movement is time consuming, we must initiate our own efforts for the time being. These efforts include: eating organic and locally produced meals, the limiting of unnecessary purchases and consulting an expert before conducting an industrial project. As we make these practices a tradition, we will undeniably make a difference. Along the way, citizens will be more collaborative as they are persuaded with such a positive movement. With high hopes, this will turn into a positive trend that will spark societal enlightenment.

Growing up in the Samoan islands, I have experienced first hand the cultural transition to technological reliance. With these newly introduced inventions, the Samoan people have become more slothful as they lean toward the purchasing of foreign supplies and absorb the impact of foreign influences. As the years prolong, we have inclined in carbon footprint, became poster children of diabetes and obesity and depleted our natural resources for modernized urban planning. In my perspective, the foreign influences and affluence are to blame for such drastic changes because if it had not been for them, we would still be blooming with resources and upkeeping the well-being of our citizens. As stated in the biomedical evidence of diabetes, American Samoa has a record incline of 2.2% in diabetic and obese women and 2.3% in men. As these prolong, American Samoa is more likely to deplete its natural resources, decrease in healthy outlooks and increase in debt due to constant imports and exports.

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