As a result, the 1970 Clean Air Act became a dead letter. In 1982, under pressure of big business warnings that the costs of pollution control would price US products out of the world market, the Reagan administration and Congress allowed the act to expire.
The failure of "market system democracies" to take action on environmental protection, even when this is supported by the overwhelming majority of their populations, is due not simply to the lobbying power (money) that the "injured minority" (big business) is able to mobilise. A more fundamental obstacle is the fact that the officials who head Western governments are either direct representatives or close allies of the corporate polluters. The political and administrative institutions of "market system democracies" are structured and function in such a way as to ensure that their leading personnel either have a personal interest in, or are ideologically committed to, maximising the big corporations' profits regardless of the social cost.
While many Western ecologists and environmental activists now recognise the necessity of social planning, they often reject the need for socialism, pointing to the appearance of major environmental problems in the Soviet Union and other "socialist" countries. Indeed, the environmental catastrophes that continue to afflict the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are taken as compelling evidence that environmental degradation is not due to capitalism or socialism but to features common to both worlds "technology", "urban sprawl", "industrialisation" and the "dominant paradigm of production at all costs".
Hunter-gatherer lands are far more sparsely populated than agricultural or industrial lands because of how much energy people can extract from their environments. Japanese rice farmers can extract 10 thousand times as much food energy from a hectare of land as Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherers could. At Japanese rice farmer levels of productivity, the yard of the home I was raised in could have met my family’s food requirements.
Environment: News & features - The Telegraph
As ice sheets retreated and today’s interglacial period began, humans already at the margins of those ice age environments as far as they could. From then until Europe , there were few mass migrations of note, such as the in Africa, when , and when agricultural peoples displaced hunter-gatherers, particularly in Australia and . But even with those migrations, it could be more of a cultural and technological migration than a human one, in which the “invaded” peoples adopted the often energetically superior practices of the “invaders” rather than being replaced by them. Genetic testing has shown that this was (although ), which has been one of the greater surprises of global genetic testing, although the research is in its early days, and more controversial findings are sure to come.
of electricity is passive and controlled by the environment, ..
Purification is not the only, nor even the most effective means of preventing pollution. Technical progress has long since made it possible to use all substances involved in any technological process, thus mimicking nature's ecosystems in which the waste produced by one organism serves as a source of energy or body-building material for other species. The development of such waste-recycling technologies would not only safeguard the environment, but would increase the efficiency of production. For example, a new method of obtaining sulphuric acid through the trickle-phase oxidation of sulphur dioxide at high temperatures not only stops the emission of this dangerous gas into the atmosphere but is hundreds of times more efficient per unit of volume of the basic reaction equipment than the old method of producing sulphuric acid.
Useful Essay on Nuclear Power (390 Words)
To prevent the discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere, rivers and ocean, efficient waste-treatment systems have been designed, but because their installation would cut into corporate profits they have not been widely used. For example, for more than two decades highly efficient methods have existed for cleansing air of sulphur dioxide, providing purity levels up to 95 per cent, yet thermal power stations, steel and non-ferrous metal industries continue to release millions of tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the air every year in the developing world, almost offsetting whatever gains have been achieved in the advanced capitalist countries through increased energy efficiency, cleaner technologies and the switch to cleaner fuels, such as natural gas.