Delve into the topic of Environment and find out why it is crucial to pay heed to the dangers of environmental degradation, particularly its widespread effects on our cultures. Analyse the social perspectives of environment to derive a better understanding of environment as an area of study for the A Level General Paper examination.
How can the environmental impacts affect our cultures?
Changes in the environment can affect our cultural practices, seen in terms of how we dress, eat and buy. In this section, we will be examining the intricacies of the environment to understand its positive and negative effects. By knowing these impacts, you can then apply this knowledge to reflect on the possible solutions to tackle environmental issues, which are possibly covered at A Level GP examination questions.
How environment affects how we dress
Environment can affect the culture, seen in terms of daily behaviour, like the way we dress. Communities that live in countries with colder climate conditions tend to dress in clothing with thick material that traps heat. For example, the Inuits wear coats made from animal hides and fur to generate heat. In contrast, those that live in countries with warmer climate would dress in such a way to reduce heat trapping. However, due to the effects of rising global temperatures, communities are forced to adapt to the changing natural environment, such that their culturally-influenced fashion becomes affected.
How environment affects how we eat
Environment can also affect the way we consume food for survival. Differences in the climate conditions around the globe affect the type of food that can be cultivated and consumed. For example, the southern parts of the United States are identified as the region with humid and warm climate. As such, its warm environment is suitable for agricultural production, like corn and wheat. On the other hand, rice cultivation is suitable for Asian countries that are more likely to be affected by the monsoon season, like India and Thailand. Therefore, these differences in environmental conditions affect the way we produce our food, which then shapes the way we eat.
How environment affects the way we buy
Through the continual efforts of pro-environment organisations, the public has become more aware of the negative impacts of environmental issues on the world. Scientific findings, like how global warming leads to rising sea levels and flooding, have created the impetus for individuals to take action, seen in terms of the development of an environmentally-friendly culture. Eco-friendly behaviours can be observed, such as the shift away from the purchase of non-biodegradable product that come from materials like plastics. Also, there has been an increasing trend of individuals switching from diesel to electric cars, in which the latter do not emit greenhouse gases. Hence, it can be seen that environment has widespread influences on how we purchase commodities.
GP Essay on Social Perspective – ‘Modern technology owes ecology an apology’. Do you agree?
This article is the 3rd segment of a 5-part series covering Culture. To ensure seamless reading, you may wish to start from the first segment of ‘How does Environment affect us?’.
Advancement in technology has brought about tremendous benefits to mankind but at the same time it has also harmed the environment. The environmentalists strongly believe that the usage of modern technology has led to the degradation of the environment. However, to the technocrats and scientists, such an assertion is absurd as they feel that modern technology is the only viable mean to solve environmental crisis. In view of these two perspectives, I am inclined to believe that modern technologies do owe ecology an apology although it can help solve some of the environment problems.
Technocrats will not share the view that modern technology owes ecology an apology as they see technology as a solution for environmental degradation rather than as a cause of environmental contamination.
The usage of clean technology over fossil-fuel based technology helps to reduce the level of carbon emission which is often seen as the main culprit of global warming. Clean technology in the form of solar power, nuclear technology and hydro power are not just energy efficient but have also significantly cut down the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel based productions. It serves as a viable alternative to fossil fuel and hence does not pollute the environment.
However, it is not easy to develop alternative energy and its use is not without criticism. The high cost of financing such clean technologies makes it an unpopular choice among countries, especially the poorer nations where their priority is on economic development rather than on environmental concerns. Also, the construction of clean technology often damages the environment in the ongoing process as seen from how the building of dam which generates hydro power undermines the ecological system though it benefits the country or city that reaps the hydro-electric power. A pertinent example would be Three Gorges dam in Yangtze River. The dams have not only disrupted the ecological system in the river but have also led to the rise of flooding in low lying rural areas of China. Hence, despite benefiting a group of people with clean energy, the detrimental impacts that it brings about outweighs the positive impacts.
Standing from the view point of an environmentalist, modern technologies do owe ecology an apology simply for the few reasons mentioned below. Firstly, modern technology promotes comfort and convenience which lead to greater consumption and production and this promotes greater usage of resources, leading to depletion and degradation of the environment. For example, the launch of the recent iPad and sold millions of units within weeks and this is a common trend seen for most Apple products. Apple products are best known for its high quality and convenience of usage. The ease of using an iPad by just using the touch of one’s fingertip makes it attractive and appealing to consumers of today. However, the production of iPad not only depletes natural resources but it is also a fossil fuel based production that contributes to the rising level of carbon emissions in today’s world. Hence, the satisfaction and comfort consumers derived from consuming more goods, made possible by modern technology come at the expense of the environment.
Though modern technology has eased accessibility, through the various mode of transport, it has worsened environmental woes. People today have a wider range of transportation to choose from and our increasing dependence on modern technology for transportation has caused us to deplete fossil fuel at a faster rate as we are unable to move away from the use of fossil fuel due to market principles and high degree of convenience. As such, the usage of the different modes of transportation emits carbon gases which are a source of global warming. Furthermore, the convenience of travelling from countries to countries made possible by modern technology has encouraged tourism. Over the year, we have seen countries developing their tourism industry at the expense of the environment. For example, many resorts are developed at tropical natural habitats which lead to a large scale of deforestation and degradation of the natural environment as we see how we contaminate the environment with rubbish and trash we dumped in these tropical resorts. Hence, tourism development would mean that the government would have to sacrifice the environment in order to achieve its aims, implying that the rise of tourism encouraged by the ease of modern transportation damages the environment.
Lastly, modern technology is seen as a crucial tool in developing the economy which sadly to say, often comes with a price to be paid by the environment. In recent years, we have been seen the emergence of rising economies like China and India. Technological advancement accounts for their rapid development as it has allowed these countries to set up industries to produce goods to meet the world demand as seen from how China has contributed to the growth of her economy significantly. However, China is also one of the world’s leading industries in the production of carbon emission as seen from the greater increase in the coal-based energy production at a rate of 2 plants being built per month in year 2009. With greater usage of modern technology to propel economic growth, the environment is at the expense of economic growth, propelled by modern technology.
In sum, it is not an accusation to assert that modern technology owes ecology an apology when we consider the detrimental effects it can create on our environment as we rely more of it for the benefits of a modern life. However, if we would to apply the modern technology to the advantage of the environment as proposed by the technocrats, such an accusation will not be justifiable.
How else is Environment important?
Explore other related impacts that can be used to discuss the GP issue of Environment, such as the individual, economic and political viewpoints. As part of our exam-focused GP Tuition programme for JC1 and JC2 students, we strongly encourage you to take the initiative to browse through these complementary sites. Although you can search for similar information on your own, the following pages feature organised materials that are condensed for examination application purposes. Therefore, it will be a productive reading activity that promotes opinionated thinking through post-analysis.
Find out how climate change can affect our daily lives, such as our state of health and personal expenses. Learn more about the adverse impacts of environmental degradation on Mankind to understand how we undertake appropriate measures to minimise its harm on our lives at GP Tuition Bishan.
Delve into the economic aspect of environmentalism to assess the feasibility of resource conservation in the modern world. Given the harmful effects of pollution, governments have supported ‘green’ initiatives, like the development of green technology and shift towards the use of renewable energy.
Learn more about the political complexities of environmental protection, such as the conflicting aims and interests of resource owners and users. Although governments have identified the threats of pollution, many are constrained by the overbearing influence of anti-environmental lobbyists.
Engage in thought-provoking discussions with fellow learners in our online GP Tuition platform to understand the significance of Environment in the modern world. Read the featured question below and post your views to reinforce your comprehension of this GP Issue as you prepare for the A Level GP exam.
Topic for Discussion: Should the society be blamed for the problems of the environment?