Environmental protection has become a serious issue due to the fact that humans are responsible for creating a huge number of harmful greenhouse gases. While the United States only accounts for four to five percent of the world’s population, we produce 22 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. This inequitable imbalance has prompted those who advocate immediate action to call for a global treaty to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.
The world’s rapid population growth has prompted a wide range of environmental issues, from deforestation to oil spills. Many individuals have personally experienced the effects of human activities on the environment. Fortunately, there have been numerous scientific breakthroughs and environmental awareness. Rachel Carlson’s research on DDT, for example, helped educate the public about the environmental effects of this chemical. She has fought for the protection of the environment ever since.
Human-induced climate change and the loss of biodiversity raise obvious ethical questions. Vested interests have sought to reposition these issues and push them to the background. However, concerned persons must resist attempts to marginalize these ethical issues. One of the biggest roadblocks in global environmental negotiations has been disputes over distributive justice. The conflicts between rich and poor nations have defied progress. Moreover, many other problems have a direct or indirect relationship with one another.
The incongruence between individual and collective rationality is the core problem of environmental protection. The problem of collective action is emblematic of this paradox. The mobilization of ‘big’ interests is far more difficult than mobilizing smaller, more specific interests. Small, specific interests have better benefits than large, broad interests. The dynamics of this paradox remain unsolvable despite the many solutions currently available. What are the present problems in environmental protection?
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