Environmental Harm

Environmental Harm: Pollution of Air and Water

 

Sarah Smith

SOC 120: Introduction to Ethics & Responsibility

Dr. James Rowley

August 13, 2015

 

How Pollution Can Make You Look Older [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thedermaldiary.com/the-dermal-diary-how-pollution-effects-our-skin/

Artistic Water Pollution [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jmgkids.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/pollution_park_200.jpg

 

All PowerPoint presentations should have a title page containing the title of the project, your name, the course information, your professor’s name, and the date.

 

 

 

 

Environmental Harm: Pollution of Air and Water

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Thesis Question

Does participating in acts that reduce the contribution to environmental harm and pollution of the air and water generate the greatest benefit for the greatest number? (Mosser, 2013)

Earth Doodle [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.123rf.com/photo_9155587_earth-doodle.html

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Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). Retrieved from URL (address of web site)

 

 

 

 

 

Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory that evaluates moral claims in terms of their outcomes, and to the extent these outcomes generate the greatest benefit for the greatest number (Mosser, 2013). Thus, we must ask: does participating in acts that reduce the contribution to environmental harm and pollution of the air and water generate the greatest benefit for the greatest number?

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Rule Utilitarianism

According to the rule utilitarian, as a principle one should help reduce environmental harm because it is what is best for the majority so it is the right thing to do.

Diverse Hands Around the Earth [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.tiaw.org/resource/resmgr/diverse_hands_around_earth.jpg

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Rule utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory that claims an action is right if it is in accordance with a rule that generates the greatest good for the greatest number (Mosser, 2013). Helping reduce environmental harm is the right thing to do because as a rule it produces the greatest good for the greatest number; it benefits people, plants, animals, and our future generations.

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Effects of Environmental Harm

The earth is a source of sustainability for both humans and animals.

 

When harm is done to the environment, animals and humans suffer from the immediate and lasting effects.

 

The harm done to the environment can have effects on future generations.

 

Environmental harm leads to the degradation of biodiversity which “can be utilized to help create drugs, foods, and other things that improve life” (Mosser, 2013, Section 8.1, “The Issue: Hazardous Waste Disposal,” para. 4).

 

 

 

 

 

Land Pollution Pictures [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://k44.kn3.net/8877CAEAF.jpg

 

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Harm done to the environment affects all inhabitants on Earth. The earth is a source of sustainability for both humans and animals. When harm is done to the environment, animals and humans suffer from the immediate and lasting effects. The harm done to the environment can have effects on future generations.

 

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What major factors have led to diminishing air quality?

Increase in burning of coal and oil

Increase of population

Disposal of trash

Air Quality

How Pollution Can Make You Look Older [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thedermaldiary.com/the-dermal-diary-how-pollution-effects-our-skin/

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Pollution affects our air quality. The burning of oil and coal has increased exponentially over the last few hundred years. Since the Industrial Revolution technology and the population expanded rapidly. Many technologies require oil and coal to operate, which introduces high levels of carbon dioxide and sulfur into the atmosphere. Another gas people introduce into the atmosphere are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) commonly associated with aerosols. “Global production of CFC gases increased from around 180 million kg per year in 1960 to nearly 1100 million kg per year in 1990 (Goudie, 2000).” The population increase over the last few hundred years has also led to poorer air quality. The more people that occupy the planet and the more waste they use, the worse the air quality will become, if nothing changes. Human Growth is probably the largest single threat to planet earth (Pernetta, 1995). The disposal of trash has indirectly led to poorer air quality. Landfills introduce gases into the air as trash decomposes. When incinerated, gases are created from the burning process.

 

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Improving Air Quality

Alternative renewable energy

Improving automobile technology

Government regulations

Clear Air Solutions [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dupont.com/content/dam/assets/products-and-services/plastics-polymers-resins/images-tobe-removed/DPP_IMG-306_OpenField_Hero_690x345.jpg

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There are methods to improve the air quality. Alternative renewable energy sources have been in practice and research for the last few decades. Windmills have been used for hundreds of years to generate power and grind mill. Newer windmill technology has advanced rapidly more recently and is more efficient than the older technologies. Windmills generate free electricity without having to use fossil fuels or coal to run the equipment. This is one of the most effective ways to increase air quality, by using the air.

 

Solar panels are another technology that is advancing rapidly. There are different types of solar collectors. The most common method is by using solar panels, like you would see on roofs. Another method is to heat water via tubes. A dark colored surface is placed behind tubes to heat water, limiting the amount of electricity needed. These examples of alternative renewable energy will drastically improve air quality if the public gets on board and the programs are backed by governments.

 

Technology in automobiles has drastically improved since the 1990s. Every car commercial mentions a MPG rating now. I do not remember that prior to 2008. There are automobiles like the Chevrolet volt and Nissan Prius that have hybrid technologies. A hybrid means that it runs off batteries and gasoline. There are other automobiles like the Tesla and the Nissan Leaf that run only on batteries.

There are other technologies such as nitrogen automobile technology in which the byproduct emission is water vapor. Newer technologies will lead to improved air quality. The Clean Air Act was established in 1970 by the government and set the standard for (industrial) stationary and mobile sources. The act set the standard for companies and enforced standards that were not yet set.

 

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Effects of Improving Air Quality

Health concern prevention

Reduction in acid rain

Improvement of aquatic wildlife

Acid Rain [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kidsgen.com/school_projects/images/acid_rain.gif

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There are several concerns with high levels of human introduced gases in the atmosphere. High levels of sulfur and carbon dioxide have been known to cause serious health issues. These issues occur more predominantly in women who are pregnant, people who work outside and are exposed to the elements, and people who have lung or heart problems. All people who are exposed to high levels of air pollution are at risk of lung inflammation. The EPA has tried to decrease the levels of manmade ozone gases over the last 20 years and have set caps on the level of gases introduced. The next concern with high levels of air pollution is the effect is has on acid rain. The more chemicals and gases released into the atmosphere the higher the chance of acid rain. Acid rain comes from sulfur, carbon, and other gases reaching high levels into the atmosphere. They then mix with water vapor and create a acidic mix. When the compound falls to earth it is acid rain. Acid rain can destroy crops, plants, trees, lakes, rivers, and even wildlife. Acid rain raises the PH levels in streams, lakes, and rivers to dangerous levels for fish and other aquatic wildlife. Unfortunately, most fish cannot adjust to these raised levels and die. The food chain is then thrown out of balance all because man released chemicals and gases into the atmosphere. If we were to improve our air quality all of these things can be prevented. The effects will be felt for a long period of time, but the planet would eventually recover.

 

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Water Quality

Duckling Drinking Water [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.animal-photos.org/_photo/4741927.jpg

The quality of our water is directly linked to the quality of all of our lives.

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We cannot live without water; therefore, it is every single person’s responsibility to ethically ensure they do not add to the growing problem. Fresh water is one of our most vital resources, and when our water is polluted, it is not only devastating to the environment, but also to human and animal health. The US relies on public water systems to treat and deliver just over 44 billion gallons of clean water each day to our homes, schools and businesses (“The Importance of Clean Water,” n.d.). Much of that water comes from rivers, lakes and other surface water sources. Thus, it is apparent to reduce water pollution.

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Improving Water Quality

Limiting point and non-point sources

Educate the growing population

Laws and regulations

Artistic Water Pollution [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jmgkids.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/pollution_park_200.jpg

 

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By limiting point and nonpoint sources water quality would increase. Point sources are more easily identified than nonpoint sources. Nonpoint sources are more than likely private citizens unknowingly dumping harmful substances into ground water or streams. Educating the public should help water quality. Sometimes people do things without understanding the end results. How do you educate and stop point and non-point sources. First is to utilize alternative pesticides for farming. There are natural pesticides that are more human friendly and break down in the environment polluting less water. The second thing that can be done to improve water quality is to create laws and regulations to limit point and non-point sources. The Clean Water Act introduced in 1972, established the standard for clean water in the United States. The act made it against the law to point source dump into water, without a permit. Laws and regulations are in place and have helped clean up waters, but guidelines need to be followed for continued success. Since the late 1970s, the Hudson river has had an immense turn around and is cleaner than it has been in hundreds of years, all thanks to conservationist and the Clean Water Act.

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Effects of Improving Water

Water is important to human sustainability and is an important resource.

 

Sources of groundwater pollution are “industrial sources, agricultural sources, and individual sources” (Mosser, 2013, Section 8.4, “The Issue: Business Interests,” para. 4).

 

According to Mosser (2013), “approximately 3.4 million people die from water-related illnesses each year” (Section 8.4, “The Issue: Business Interests,” para. 3).

 

Toxins found in polluted water cannot only poison human populations but animal populations as well, so it is important to reduce water pollution.

Gonzalez, A. (n.d.). Turtle Stuck in Soda 6 Pack Ring [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.outdooroddities.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/turtle_stuck_in_soda_can_six_pack_ring.jpg

 

Make sure you have a good balance of images and text. You don’t want your slides to be too text heavy.

 

 

 

 

It is important to reduce water pollution not only to protect human populations but animal populations as well. We cannot live without water; therefore, it is every single person’s responsibility to ethically ensure they do not add to the growing problem. It is wrong to leave this planet worse than when you found it. From a political side of the argument, there are point sources that are regulated via the Clean Water Act that businesses break or get a waiver. The federal government can only do so much and then it falls on the backs of the citizens to morally do the right thing. Just like air pollution, water pollution is almost identical. It is expensive for businesses to pay to have byproduct shipped and disposed of properly so they pay to get a waiver, or worse just except the fine. It is expensive for companies to change their thinking and alter practices for the betterment of the environment and the habitats around them.

 

The quality of our water is directly linked to the quality of our lives. By supporting clean water initiatives and similar measures that improve our water and wastewater treatment systems, we can each have a hand in ensuring clean, safe water for ourselves, our families and our communities.

 

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Act Utilitarianism

According to the act utilitarian, reducing harm to the environment would produce the greatest benefit for the greatest number because it would reduce pollution to the environment harming the population, thus making it the right thing to do.

 

 

Pollution –a Chronic Malady (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.greenpassport.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/pollution-prevention.jpg

To add variety, change the layout of some of your the slides. Have some slides with the content next to the image, and have some with the text above or below the image.

 

 

 

 

Act Utilitarianism is a consequentialist ethical theory that claims an action is right if it is the act that generates the greatest good for the greatest number (Mosser, 2013). Thus, by participating in acts that help reduce environmental harm in terms of air and water is morally ethical because generates the greatest good for the greatest number.

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References

Goudie, A. (2000). Stratospheric Ozone Depletion. In The human impact on the natural environment (5th ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Kokmen, L. (2008, March-April). Environmental justice for all. UTNE Reader. Retrieved from http://www.utne.com/environment/environmental-justice-for-all.aspx

Mosser, K. (2013). Ethics and social responsibility (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Pernetta, J. (1995). The impact of climate change on ecosystems and species: Terrestrial ecosystems (p. 96). Gland: IUCN.

 

Lastly, be sure to add a references list that includes all of the materials you have mentioned in your presentation.

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