Ecology and Environment

Over the past few years, much has been written, including scientific data, regarding the impending ecological disasters facing the world at large. Ecology is a relatively wide field that refers to the scientific study of environmental systems where individual organisms interact with their natural and man-made environments (Hall, 2010).

During the 19th century, ecology was not well developed until theorists emerged in the 20th century. Changes in climatic conditions have continued to pose great threats to the ecosystem. If urgent measures are not taken the entire ecosphere is at risk of being hit by monumental disasters.

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Ecologically speaking, ecosphere refers to spheres of the planet Earth which consists of the atmosphere, the lithosphere (geosphere), the biosphere, as well as the hydrosphere (Hall, 2010). Governments of the world have responded differently to the alarm raised by the ecologists.

The essay explores the role played by the United States government relating to the care of the ecosphere and whether it has done enough to control or reverse the trend of our life support systems. It will also offer suggestions on alternative approach in dealing with this issue.

Although the ecosystem should be self-sustaining, activities of mankind contribute significantly towards causing instability of the ecosphere. Therefore, there is need to focus on continued assessment and development of a clear understanding of how individual components work together, as well as how they influence each other (Hall, 2010).

This will in turn reveal how the whole system operates in ways that could not be easily predicted from the pieces. Caring for the ecosphere should take priority if any meaningful and sustainable development is to occur. It is critical to note that man has wrecked havoc on the land, water bodies, as well as the air through utter negligence, disregarding the associated dangers, or even by failing to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of his actions.

Over the past several decades, America has witnessed environmentally destructive activities initiated by human activities. Leading corporations in America have been largely responsible for activities that have been disastrous to the environment at large including human health (Wilson, Dilulio, & Bose, 2011).

It is unfortunate that all the major corporations whose activities are known by the public to be damaging to the environment have not been held accountable. These corporations include: Exxon Mobil, Monsanto and W. R. Grace. They are responsible for most of the toxic substances dumped into streams posing great danger to users of their waters. Their structures are also too weak causing chemical leakages that harm those who come into contact with them either directly or indirectly.

There are a number of environmental catastrophes that have been caused by human activities in America that the government has tried to control or reverse with limited success. Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone is a result of farming activities. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides used by farmers get their way into Mississippi River which drains to the Gulf of Mexico (Hall, 2010).

Chemicals and nitrogenous wastes from animals encourage the growth of algae, which are then eaten by microscopic creatures called zooplanktons. The decaying pellets found at the bottom of the ocean end up starving the water of oxygen. The resulting dead zone becomes inhabitable to any sea life. The American government has not allocated sufficient funds to research initiatives into the dead zone.

However, available research findings reveal that the dead zone is caused by organic sediments found on the sea bed and that the zone will continue to expand if urgent measures are not taken (Wilson, Dilulio, & Bose, 2011). Subsequently, the government has developed a comprehensive plan to encourage the states to adopt pollution-reduction strategies that will in turn help reverse the devastating effects of chemicals and nitrogen runoff.

American government plays a central role when it comes to the regulation of corporations. However, the government has failed in this responsibility in some instances. During Bush’s administration in 2000, there was a major disaster caused by coal sludge spillage in Kentucky and West Virginia (Hall, 2010). Millions of gallons of coal slurry laced with mercury and arsenic spread over the land and polluted water bodies killing virtually all living organisms in the eventual reservoir.

The government at the time suppressed all efforts to investigate the energy companies that are responsible for most environmental disasters due to their reckless operations. Moreover, other companies like the Tennessee Fossil Plant have also allowed leakage of radioactive material into the environmental which have been the cause of cancer among Americans in the affected areas. Unfortunately, under the watch of the government, official records showing the number of those affected have never been released.

On the other hand, global warming remains to be one of the greatest risks to thousands of animal and plant species. It is potentially the next cause of devastating floods along coastal areas, and generally raising the temperatures of the world. Despite massive campaigns to raise awareness among the people at the beginning of the 21st century, the American government now seems less concerned with this quest.

There are no clear policies that outline how global warming is to be controlled and how its effects so far can be reversed (Wilson, Dilulio, & Bose, 2011). Even if there are, then they remain just that, policies on paper. This is due to the fact that the government is doing very little to cut down on the massive greenhouse gas emissions recorded in America alone.

Undoubtedly, failure to care for the ecosphere will lead to environmentally destructive consequences not only in America but also the world at large. The government should develop clear and accurate policies that will regulate the operations of corporations especially those dealing with and releasing harmful substances. Moreover, practical strategies on efficient energy and use of new technologies should be adopted in combating global warming.

References

Hall, C. (August3, 2010). “Ecology.” In The Encyclopedia of Earth. Washington, D. C.

Wilson, J. Q., Dilulio, J. J., & Bose, M. (2011). American government: institutions & policies (12th ed.). Cengage Learning

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