Environmental Studies Essay Samples
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Sea Level Rise
Environmental threats have always been an issue for all territories inhabiting humans. It is important to realize that, however, these threats become more difficult to respond to when faced with poverty. Developing countries have just the option of devising human strategies that are supported by greater levels of economic and social development. All solutions of protecting the population from or building better response to heightened sea levels are rooted in higher levels of development. Encouraging settlement in less vulnerable areas is faced with the conflict between the rich having greater access and the poor being pushed to the coastal margins. Similarly, disaster management solutions also are better implemented by the rich and educated, rather than by the poor and less educated (Mintzer 97). With this theme, the paper aims to bring forth issues faced by developing countries when countering sea level rises and present solutions to such problems which correct the disaster response system on a long-term basis through actions and investments within the local community. The theoretical base for recognition of issues and presenting innovative solutions is drawn from the book ‘The Blue Sweater’ by Jacqueline Novogratz (2009).
Increasing Gap between the Rich and Poor (Wealth Disparity) and Sea Level Rise
Wealth disparity has been rapidly on the rise and to all dismay the concept of a divide between the rich and poor has resulted in seeing the poor as unwanted outsiders in this world. The extent to which such disparity has increased is alarming as it was previously presumed that the rich resided in the developed North and the poor could be found in the developing South. However, today disparity can be witnessed within the same country, living side by side are the extremely rich and the strikingly poor (Novogratz 8).
Sea level rises have now become a more imminent thought than ever before. It is important to realize that rising sea levels are a result of global warming, which occurs due to an accumulation of Greenhouse Gases emitted by vehicles and industries. Therefore, it is the industrialization and economic growth of the rich that is creating an impact on the rich and poor alike. The rich, however, are better equipped to relocate or modify current location to hold off the effects of inundation. Inundation, salinization, erosion, and impeded drainage are all hurdles for agricultural production. The poor involved in this primary task are, therefore, adversely affected by the rise in sea levels. The results of ethnographic studies and in-depth environmental knowledge can help to educate and reduce the impact of sea level rise resultant issues; however, access to such knowledge is also limited to the elite. Poverty restricts the choices available to respond to environmental threats and as the rate of poverty is still too high, so is the rate of persons unable to react to disasters (Smith 30).
Developmental Solutions to Managing Climate Change and Disaster Prevention
Climatic changes are resulting in environmental dilemmas that will have an equal impact on both the rich and the poor. However, the rich will have a greater opportunity to mitigate losses and to stay prevented as they will be better informed and will have better plans regarding the best methods to avoid and manage problems resulting from a rise in sea levels along the coast. As presented by Novogratz, the poor are always less equipped and have no support in fighting off the ill-effects of being located in inundated areas. This shows that the poor are unwanted outsiders who are left to suffer by the rich world in times of natural disasters (7).
There are several corrective measures designed and suggested by environmentalists and world organisations to describe protocols in times of disasters. Similarly, the governments of most countries undergo planning to determine the impact of disasters and to design preventive measures. However, very few such plans incorporate the poor. Novogratz suggests a few ways of deciding the fate of poor in coastal areas.
Investing in Local Leaders
Novogratz states that it is one amongst the poor who can understand their concerns and implement corrective action. Therefore, a good method of preparing, gradually, is electing those willing to bring about a change through influence – leaders – from within the affected community. Providing the right aid, knowledge and resources can empower these local leaders to understand the pain and the reasons behind failure for the poor. Empowerment, thus, ensures community-based and community-driven development (134).
Role of Patient Capital
Novogratz encourages scientists and venture capitalists to realise that charity would no longer be appropriate for areas under threats of severe climatic change as drastic measures of improvement have become necessary. Therefore, investments should be made. Such investments have been termed Patient Capital and involve a great amount of risk on the part of the investor – chances of return may be low. The time horizon of such investments is very long and return on capital is valued; therefore, the basis of Patient capital injection is purely philanthropic (216).
Expecting to build more resilience in the system in the face of disasters is a demanding process and requires long-term committed capital. Resilient measures to maintain poor communities along coastal lines, while finding alternative forms of occupation requires trust and a long return on capital period (MASNYC 35).
Using Business Concepts to manage Poverty
After the establishment of Acumen fund (public charity), Novogratz realised that establishing a business, learning and implementing all business concepts and drawing up business plans to identify the business’ reason for existence can result in a well-focused, thoughtful change in the society (216). To establish flood prevention and erosion diminishing measures it is important for the business to be well-organised and appropriately targeted towards its goal – just like any commercial business. Adopting business concepts thus, results in greater efficiency and increased long-term returns.
The growing wealth disparity is not just a symbol of differing living standards, but is a more crucial measure as it demonstrates the extent to which individual communities are prepared and invested in, in order to respond to disasters such as the rise in sea levels. The industrial activities that benefit the rich are resulting in global warming which melts ice caps and increases the water levels. The poor are neither well-educated in this regard, nor are they well-prepared. Novogratz in her book has suggested that empowering the locals can help figure which areas of disaster management need more effort and resources to develop. Similarly, once these local leaders have identified areas of improvement, patient capital that allows long-term, risk lending should be allowed to provide a robust source of capital. Finally, being organized just as businesses are and using business concepts is important to develop efficient use of the limited resources that can help to prevent destruction in the face of disaster.
MASNYC. ALL HANDS ON DECK: MOBILIZING NEW YORKERS FOR A LIVABLE AND RESILIENT CITY. New York: Municipal Art Society of New York, 2013. Web.
Mintzer, Irving. Confronting Climate Change: Risks, Implications and Responses. USA: University of Cambridge, 1992. Print.
Novogratz, Jacqueline. The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World. USA: Rodale Books, 2009. Print.
Smith, Anthony Oliver. Sea Level Rise and the Vulnerability of Coastal Peoples. Germany: United Nations University: Institute for Environment and Human Security, 2009. Print.
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