M7 – Mendoza

What environmental responsibilities do we have to the rest of the world? What obligations do we have to future generations?

As the world’s sole superpower, I feel we bear the responsibility of leading the charge to combat, prevent and reverse the effects of global warming. We should invest in and improve technologies and processes of producing green, renewable energy in order to show the rest of the world that it can be done and how to do it. Now, thinking back to our previous discussion about dumping waste materials in developing countries, I firmly believe that we as a nation should also find ways to recycle our own materials rather than pawn them off on others who don’t have the ability to resist. Learning how to reduce, reuse and recycle efficiently can have a major impact on the environment in a positive way all by itself.

Now, in regards to what obligations we have to future generations, I think it goes without saying that we owe them the world…literally. We may not have caused all the problems we face today, but we are definitely contributing to them and it is entirely possible for us to find the solutions to them. We shouldn’t simply say oh well and pass these issues on as they will only get more complicated and difficult to solve or prevent. If you have kids of your own, I’m sure you don’t want them to grow up in an environment that can harm or kill them by entirely preventable issues such as contaminated water, air, food or what they are exposed to simply by stepping outside.

Who should pay the cost for protecting the environment — those responsible for causing the pollution or those who stand to benefit from protection and restoration?

In regards to this question, I say that both must pay. Perhaps not equally in a 50/50 split, but I’d say in a 70/30 split with those responsible for pollution paying a larger chunk. This would serve to punish those who commit environmental wrongs and may persuade them to seek routes that are cleaner and avoid financial punishment. Those who stand to gain should also have “skin in the game” and pay a portion of the cost as this is not a solution that can be achieved by any one group alone. We must all be vested in the success and implementation of greener policies that will benefit everyone on Earth.

M7 (Wade)

Find an alternative/opposing point of view to Climate Change as proposed in the Introduction.

An article I found that has an opposing view of Climate Change is The Distributional Impact of Climate Change on Rich and Poor Countries. One benefit of climate change is improved agriculture in some high latitude regions. Carbon dioxide, through fertilization, is strictly beneficial and helps forestry and especially agriculture in all regions (Mendelsohn, 2017). It is difficult to find opposing views on Climate Change because most of the impacts negatively affect the environment.

What obligations do we have to future generations?  

I believe we owe it to our future generations to protect the environment. According to Shaw, more than 131.8 million people, roughly 42% of the population – live where the air is often dangerous to breathe. Future generations will be born into a world where air pollution is especially harmful to young children, whose lungs are still developing. Obligations we have to future generations are clean air to breathe, safe drinking water, food without chemicals or pesticides, an environment without pollution and inhumane animal treatment. Future generations deserve a world that is better than the condition it is in today.

Does nature have value in itself?

Nature gives life to humans, animals, plants, bacteria, and many more species. Nature has always provided us with food, water, oxygen, and materials. Only in the past few centuries has man started to produce things not found in nature, but nature is still the great nurturer, even if we have lost our connection or appreciation of it. The Earth also offers us many other gifts, such as music that comes from birds, inspiration, spirituality, and beauty. Nature has value in itself as many of these gifts are given to us freely.

Who should pay the cost for protecting the environment?

Those who are responsible for causing the pollution should definitely be the ones who should pay for the cost for protecting the environment and restoring the land, sea, and air as it was originally left before their cause of destruction. While companies should pay for their pollution, I also believe most humans have contributed to polluting our home. We should take action to recycle, use more renewable energy, or take part in some way or form to prevent further pollution and to restore Earth’s natural habitat.  


Mendelsohn, R., Dinar, A., & Williams, L. (2017). The distributional impact of climate change on rich and poor countries. Distributional Effects of Environmental and Energy Policy,467-486. doi:10.4324/9781315257570-21



This week we are taking a look into the ethics of the environment. For the paper that I chose, it is not exactly an apposing view but it talks about the ideology of the opposing side and how they are fueling the anti- environmentalist movement. In this article they talk about the complete denial of climate change and its impending effects on the environment and our future. This is being done by bashing the scientific community, the scientists themselves, and even leaving out the facts that could persuade people that the issue is indeed an issue. It then goes on to talk about the psychology of knowing versus not knowing and that blissful ignorance is more widely accepted than the negativity that lies with the fact that climate change is actually a real thing and not just a myth. People are persuaded that science is a lie and that the economy matters more than some radical view that the Earth cannot handle the toll we are dishing out to it.   There are also statements of the government that are more or less falsely claiming compliance with issues even though there are no clear goals of reduction of its own emissions.

2. What obligations do we have to future generations?

We have an obligation the future generations of this planet. Biologically speaking, a species should strive for self preservation and NOT extinction. We are supposed to be the most intelligent creatures on this planet, or at least have the potential for this title if we could only see the bigger picture that we are killing our future generations before they even have a chance to have a say. Previous generations, at least governmentally, basically gave us the middle finger as they plowed into their future emitting any consequences from their minds that their actions have a multitude of externalities. We owe it to the newcomers and ourselves to preserve our environment for the long run. Sure capitalism is fun and all, but at some point the ecosystem should come first before the economy.

Does nature have value in itself?

Yes. There is a reason that so many people that come to Alaska end up staying for the long-term. We are closer to nature than any other state. This is embedded in our lives deeply. We have clean air and clean water. There are claims that people instantly feel “more alive” up here just purely from breathing clean air. In a day of modernization and multimedia, we often seek nature as an escape. We are taking nature in its purest form for granted and if we keep chugging along as we are now, there will not be much of it left to go around.

4. Who should be responsible? This is a very biased answer, but we should all be responsible. We live on this planet, together, whether we like it or not we are stuck with each other. Corporate businesses down to the single individual, we all have to put in our share to help preserve our habitat. We all, especially the 1st world, are responsible for this pollution, yet we also all will benefit from the reduction of these pollutants in the long-term. Again, as stated in previous question, as a species we owe it to ourselves to combat this increase in emissions, the acidification of our oceans, and the misuse of animals. Simply existing in the 1st world we are cause of many of these problems, but we should also at least try and reduce our footprint, and stick up for the future generations that will eventually be handed our collections of environmental problems. By not acting as if we are responsible for our own home, we are asking for the future extinction of not only other species but ourselves. By our hands and our hands alone can we solve this problem and avoid what is now believed to be a soon to be catastrophe on a grand ecological scale.

McCright, A. M., & Dunlap, R. E. (2003). Defeating Kyoto: The conservative movement’s impact on US climate change policy. Social problems, 50(3), 348-373.