I am sad to say that this is going to be my last post on my series of Geoenineering. Not to say it is going to be a short one though. In each of my series I have been consistently attack why I do not agree with what scientists have come up with. New treatments like Solar Radiation Management and Green house gas remediation. I have clearly stated that I do not think that SMR is a great way to fix our problems, if anything I think it is going to cause more catastrophic consequences than what nature would impose. As for Green house gas remediation I think that is a step in a better direction. It is aiming more at the root problem rather than trying to cover up the problem like SMR. However both have very negative affects. This is where series is going to be about what I want to see happen.

What I would like to see happen in a complete change in our society and social structure. Although I know this is going to be hard I think it is something that we as a society need to work on.  I have read Annie Leonard’s book, “ The Story of Stuff,” as well as “ a fierce green fire”, by Philip Shabecoff, and have found that our environment cannot be saved by simple environmentalism. Most Mainstream environmental organizations fail to target the most important part of the environmental movement.

What Geoenineering and environmental organizations need to focus on is action on environmental injustice, and challenge the world’s excessive consumption. Excessive consumption is the reason why Geoengineers have to come up with schemes to fix our problems. Excessive consumption is directly related to environmental injustice which leads to social injustice, it a vicious cycle. These are things that we as a society should be concerned about rather than putting a Band-Aid on our problems.Reading Leonard and Shabecoff has made me a firm believers that Environmental injustice and mass consumption are what our society and mainstream environmental groups needs to focus on.

Annie Leonard explains in her chapter of extraction why it is important to look at the environmental injustices that are happening around the world. A main example that she focuses on is the huge imbalance of the benefits from the extraction of natural resources. Leonard describes the imbalance as, the resource curse, “ [The] Local people get the short end of the deal, environmentally and economically. In fact, many places with valuable, nonrenewable resources like forests, metals, and minerals wind up as impoverished noncontenders in the global economy, with their citizens often left hungry and sick,” (Leonard). The multinational industries and international banks that make the decision and gain benefits often suppress these indigenous people as Leonard explains. These companies making such important decisions are often so distant that it is hard for the local communities to have a voice in the process. Being so distant also makes it impossible for the multinational groups to see what they are doing to our natural resources and the indigenous people. Simply put, the people who work so hard in the unhealthy extraction process and who get their natural resources stripped from them; are left out of the decision making process. Shabecoff bounces off this idea and adds that although these countries are giving their natural resources they are not the part of the world that consumes in mass amounts.

Shabecoff argues that in order for our world to see progress in our environment we have to start focusing on such issues of consumption and environmental injustice. Our environmental problems cannot simply be solved with the broad term of environmentalism that these mainstream websites display. Environmental injustice is a focus of Shabecoff because eventually it leads to the theme of mass consumption. Shabecoff explains that environmental injustice is largely connected to issues of social injustice. In an interview Shabecoff says, “The flaws of the economic and political systems that lead to disappearing land and polluted water and skies are ones that keep people in poverty, keep people of color suppressed, and lead to assaults on immigrants.”(Interview)  Here he clearly describes the connection between social and environmental injustice just like Leonard does in her book. In the past when developing countries seek environmental justice help from mainstream movements, like the websites I have researched, they often ignore them. The two websites that I viewed failed to make this connection in our own country and even around the world. Without making these connections we fail to realize that in developing countries population growth, poverty and destruction of the environment are intertwined.

Both Leonard and Shabecoff mention in their book that North America, Europe, and Japan are not in excessive demand of the goods that they use, like the developing countries. But are consuming in unimaginable amounts. The environmental imbalance is earth shattering. Shabecoff explains, “The U.S. and former Soviet Union alone, produce 45% of the carbon dioxide that is create the greenhouse effect. More than 90% of the chemicals that are destroying atmospheric ozone are produce and consumed in the industrialized countries,” (Shabecoff). The biggest question I can’t help but ask is what makes the US so special, why is it we feel it is ok to ruin our earth?  Leonard explains in her book, that if the world consumes at the rate the US does we would need several earths to supply the adequate amount of resources. I believe that countries around the world that consume the most need to rediscover the relationship that human have to the earth, and how any life depend on the resources that it provides for us. It is clear that the environmentalist alone cannot tackle this global issue.

I would like to see our society focus more on the emergence of a broader social movement. I see green web sites like I see Geoenineering. Most Geoenineering projects like solar radiation management are not getting at the root social problem that our society has. Instead both Geoenineering and these mainstream environmental groups are trying to put a band-aid over our problems. Telling the population little ways to fix the problems that we have created instead of stopping the further creation of these problems. Creating a broader social movement and awareness is the answer, getting the government involved is a major step that needs to be taken.

 

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