Homes, automobiles, movie theaters, broadway plays, masseur, universities, and the retail environment provide the good and service all Americans expect of society today. Today’s society is built upon this regiment of buying goods/services and then selling those goods/services to customers.
For example, my own ecological footprint starts off with what I consume everyday which mostly consists of chicken, vegetables, and some processed foods (whoops). Once in a while I will consumer beef or lamb, but not too often, and I never eat fish. Then it displays the influence I have on the environment based on my humble abode, which is approximately 3800-4000 square feet. Now, my home is not very green in the way of using alternative resources to supply our power needs. Supplying our needs is basic electricity which adds to my footprint. Finally, it accounts transportation, personal as well as public transportation. I am currently at school so traveling by car is not often the case, whereas taking public transit is more applicable to my current living situation. In total, I require around 5.1 Earths in order to sustain my lifestyle. In turn, this means that in order to survive I would need five Earth’s resources over the course of my lifetime in order to maintain my current lifestyle.
However, today customers are seeking a shift in the products/services they purchase, and customers want organic, home-grown products. Yet, people are not willing to pay the price for these types of products, and it makes one think… what would the price be with the inclusion of ecosystem services/externalities. What is this idea of ecological economics? Ecological economics refers to the idea of the co-evolution of our own economic systems and the natural ecosystems over a period of time.
First off, what are ecosystem services? Well ecosystem services are natural systems that provide free benefits for human-kind, like the purification of water and air/pollution, good conditions for growing food, weather moderation, and overall well-being for us humans.
Ok with that defined I want to jump into the first article, “Ecosystems Come to New York”. Overall, this article pushes for the idea of using natural systems, aka ecosystems and their services, to help purify/cleanse our water/air/anything else we pollute, because it is much cheaper and much better than our industrial replication. Thus, we need to spend money, less however when compared to the construction and maintenance of an industrial complex, to fix our local watersheds. Like attorney General Cuomo is allocating 7 million dollars to the Bronx river area to help clean, fix and maintain the watershed.
However, I am bit confused on that situation. Why is Cuomo giving 7 million dollars, was it a part of a case? Is 7 million dollars even enough? What is enough? When will all of it be delivered? Is it all for this area?
Next, the Biophilia article stresses the belief that everyone, from children to adults, need to be engaged, in some shape and form, with the natural environment. The natural environment is where we humans feel best; it is where we become our optimal selves. Basically, we have deep-love, and connection, with nature. Therefore, we should be spending more time outside like the no child left inside suggests.
So is it possible to instill this idea in our culture, meaning can we include this idea in our schools, corporations, colleges, etc…? (high school recess sort of idea) Should there be laws that mandate outside sessions, or breaks?
The final article explains in great detail the effects of our wants and needs on the ecosystems of the world. Our world is telling us we need to find an answer, we need to protect our ecosystems; and since we caused these problems I’m pretty sure we should start finding the solutions. Just by reading the article and seeing all those staggering statistics broke my heart. I know that things like eutrophication and invasive species, loss of genetic/bio diversity, erosion, and etc. are all major problems of the environment but to read and see the graphs really did help to put things in perspective. For example, tons of world’s population is moving towards dryland; in fact, 2/3 of the them leave there. However, this dry land barely gets any waterfall/does not have much in the way of stored/underground water. Thus, water is shipped, soil is being degraded, and water in that area is being lost. These areas also need timber. So, timber is being shipped in from everywhere else. That means degradation to world’s forests.
Us humans need these systems and the author knows that, and the author suggest ways economically how we can go about that. How we can fix our mistakes, but we got to make sure that our mistakes do not happen again. Therefore we have to make sure to continue checking on our watersheds, and maintain them. Fix our mistakes is what we need to do, and viably, we can do it and honestly it could even help our bottom line.
This does pose some questions, like how far is too far? When will we stop? What can show Americans what is happening? Education could be a great tool, how can we use that tool? Maybe we can include this concept as a mandatory class in today’s high schools?