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----------------------- Page 2----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05.qxd:JOHN Q7.3 16/12/08 14:38 Page 153 5 he T t ironmen v En ----------------------- Page 3----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05.qxd:JOHN Q7.3 16/12/08 14:38 Page 154 CHAPTER 5 The Environment Nature, the environment and sociology 157 De ning nature and the environment 157 Sociology and the environment 8 What are environmental issues? 163 Pollution and waste Resource depletion 163 169 172 15
Genetic modi cation of food Global warming 177
Sociological theories and ecological sustainability 187 Limits to growth and sustainable developmen t 190 Living in the global ‘risk society’ Ecological modernization nship 197 195 193 186
Consumerism and environmental damage
Environmental justice and ecological citize
Sri Lanka after two with the UK: the greatest loss of hours. just 15 minutes after the initial quake. began moving across the Indian Ocean away from the quake’s epicentre at a speed of around 500 miles per hour. Aceh in northern Indo nesia. A large wave known as a tsunami. caused by t he tremor.qxd:JOHN Q7.Page 5----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05.Page 4----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. the tsunami slowed dramatically to just 30 miles per hour and began to incr ease in height. Thaila nd was ----------------------.Conclusion Summary points Further reading Internet links The 2004 Indian Ocean 199 200 201 202 (opposite) earthquake was the third largest ever recorded a nd caused massive loss of human life . the Maldives after three and a half close links British live 16/12/08 14:38 Page 156 . in many places destroying everything in its path and sweeping debris hundreds of metres inland.3 16/12/08 14:38 Page 155 Time) on ust before 26 one o’clock a. As it neared the coast. ----------------------.qxd:JOHN Q7. The earthquake shifted the seabed and displaced hundreds of cubic kilometres of water. UTC (Coordinated Universal JDecember 2004.3 156 THETHE ENVIRONMENTENVIRONMENT hit after 90 minutes. the largest earthquake in 40 years occurred beneath the Indian Ocean. The tsunami reached the nearest landmass.m.
Travelling in a three-minute silence in west. then isn’t Although much sociological research er subject for environmental tends to focus on how human institutions nd geologists rather than socioland citizens respond to ecological hazards. away as Africa. troops million. the wave caused devastation as far se killed. pe. thousands of miles from the epicentons who died in the terrorist tre of the quake.000 of at debt repayments from the whom drowned when an 80-tonne train was ntries should be suspended. In Sri Lanka more than 30. A few weeks later the in the past two decades or so. United Nations estimated that more than om the rich world are increas175.000 people had died. just fewer than 10. the British Red Cross has estimated a death dollars were donated by the toll closer to the region of a staggering 1 blic and governments. Many as the Asian tsunami? Surely millions of people around the Indian Ocean ural disaster’. millions of people across water. where killed. Most deaths were ed to travel further a eld for in Indonesia. Thaiately apparent.000 people lost their lives. In rich countries. the wave reached the African ar and far greater than the coast. nally. Second World W number of Bri attacks in N The high lo re ects the pro land. In India. some seven hours after the ewYork andWashington in 2001. an example of were left homeless. has mass tourism as people fr ingly prepar their holida global in sco beamed pictur ing around millions general of pu and expertis was agreed th worst hit cou early January Europe stopp take part memory of tho Why should events such this was a ‘nat the massive p it the prop scientists a ogists? Afte . earthquake that caused it.000 ed what they were doing to people are thought to have died. The relief e ort was also around 160. as the world’s news stations Figures for the total number of people killed es and reports of the su eraround the Indian Ocean vary hugely. where it is thought that ys. ower of nature? If so. In lifted o its tracks and submerged under 2005. ss of life amongst Westerners The scale of the tragedy was not immedicesses of globalization.000 e were sent to the region and it people were killed.000 only become a destination for people had been killed. killing around 140 people sociologists be interested in along the continent’s east coast.s in any one incident since the hours. By the end of the day on 26 most holiday-makers were December it was reported that 12. but the planet. more than a 1.
passive backdrop to the division of academic labour dramas of social life. From here we discuss some imporaning of ‘nature’ had changed again.3 The Environment 16/12/08 157 14:38 do sociolog earthquakes the twentie common-sense was taken investigated social scie and their and ’90s thi edge of glob emerged and the fate of t were inevitab In this ch and environm environmenta ological ap Page 157 issues. world. Natural scientists which often plays a large part in the shaping the non-human world. elds. events thousands societies. The natural environment is not th century.qxd:JOHN Q7. This tant environmental issues. as knowlone’s lives. before outlining soci149 people who were British citizens or had proaches to the study of such ----------------------. for granted. al environmental problems Although the vast majority of people it became much clearer that killed in the tsunami were locals. this apparently simply an inert. mountains and the risk society and proposals aimed at dealch more. resource depletion. The chapter ends with an me ti of t na th mu to an fo . The tion and global warming before looking at tural world was a world full of natural sociological theories of consumerism and ings – animals. For ent and what constitutes an instance. but is an active force. For instance. genetic modi cahings rather than as a series of forces. several he ‘natural’ and ‘social’ worlds thousands were tourists from around the ly intertwined. there was a trend ing with environmental dilemmas such as wards looking at ‘scenery’ as landscapes sustainable development and ecological d pictorials. However. with nature literally framed modernization. The Asian tsunami also shows ntists concentrated on people that in a globalized world. including pollume it was seen as the whole material world tion. many of whom had been enjoying an apter we look at ideas of nature idyllic Christmas break in the region.Page 6----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. the tsunami claimed the lives of l issue.r all. by the 1980s of miles away have a great impact on everyngs were changing. while of societies. what institutional training the 2004 tsunami reminds us that natural ists receive on understanding processes can be complex and unpreor plate tectonics? For most of dictable.
nature and socisimple word with a single meaning. polluting and wasting nature to one of the most complex and dif cult words new urban lifestyles. use of the word. Instead. seem to involve nature. la izat wor an d urbanization. it was some twelve distinct meanings of the word. Wild nature in the English language because its domieded protection not domestication. which shifted people away from king the land in agricultural settings. society and nature were seen as ‘Nature’ can mean something that is te things. Nature was Defining nature and the en as an obstacle that society had to tame environment d overcome in order to make progress. In fourteenthr periods. y were seen as distinct. however. for instance? We may be told that re people would probably now agree this is instinctive behaviour and an essential h the nature-protectors than did so in part of the ‘nature’ of birds. a new dominant Since the 1950s. the environment man settlements that generated new and sociology ving environments largely divorced from tural things (Thomas 1984). but nature was not usually describe dictionary de nitions as in need of taming. Nature came to s started to give way to another term: the be seen instead as a series of forces that which hu li na se an th na For et seen mo pr feed ne Ne pr separa et re mo wit earlie ha en . for both the tamers and the with the development of societies. This meaning birds build their nests at the same time mains the dominant one today. and vice versa. dern industrial society that was the RaymondWilliams (1987) says that nature is oblem.r our appreciation and enjoyment. Two major and related causes of this looking ahead to the future of socitest change in meaning were industrialety–environment relations. But ‘nature’ is not a a minority of people. as e popular ideas of nature ‘in the raw’ or The environmental issues noted above all ture ‘red in tooth and claw’ suggest. ‘nature’ meaning began to emerge. evaluation of their prospects for success. Nature was that which sociessential to a person or a thing. century Europe. nant meaning has changed over time along vertheless.Why do some y was not. ion. led to larger Nature. though every year. In fact. otectors.
However. would probably expect this chapter to gs within which human discuss pollution. espetoday many people consult astrological ally those in which they live or work. and appreciate. Most people today those non-human. none of these environand planets – directing human a airs. For example. David charts looking for their birth date-based rvey (1993) notes that this de nition can ‘star sign’ and what guidance it can o er on o a number of situations. We will use king de nition throughout this chapter. Dictionary ‘env co ci Ha apply t ex busi ronmen ments te From the seventeenth century onwards. a implicitly draw on the same idea of ‘natural ness environment and an urban enviforces’ – in this case the movement of stars t. sociolo a direct interes . Indeed. we have a working environment. By is what most of us think of when the the nineteenth century. climate change.qxd:JOHN Q7. title. For their life decisions. does not refer to any The environment is of these ‘environments’. they ample. even nditions or surroundings of people.de nitions of directed the world and ultimately explained ironment’ suggest that it is the external why things happen. indicating that the enviits widest sense this is ronment has taken on a widespread and h as a whole.Page 7----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. which also became the focus of the ‘tourist gaze’ (Urry 1990). The Environment. this chapter’s ----------------------. When they do this. the dominant rm is used today. THINKING CRITICALLY How satisfactory is our working environment definition of ‘the environment’ above? What things would it include and what global environmental probational environmental would it exclude? Should human beings be considered part of nature? If so. landscape scenes such as this one. assumed to mean all of natural surroundin beings exist – somet environment’ – and in simply planet Eart this as our wor movements. wealthy social groups began to take pleasure in. animal imes called the ‘natural welfare and so on.3 16/12/08 14:38 Page 158 vironment. gists can and must take explain why many people see human In our age of lems and intern Sociology and the special meaning.
In 2005. If it had occurred kers are likely to concern indirect e ects. the United Nations began to unami was not a direct result of human plan for an early warning system for the tion. y help us to understand es? ----------------------.Page 8----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. sociologists can provide an ities in the endangered countries where the count of how patterns of human behavinfrastructure should be in place to move ur create pressure on the natural environpeople away from the coast before a wave nt (Cylke 1993). But just environments as somehow artificial. most of those richer countries. sociology can help us to understand ngladesh. although tastrophe if repeated in the world’s global warming – the increase in average er.qxd:JOHN Q7. with money from Western nges discussed in this chapter are. such as the USA. Flooding kills many more people Ba in se In is ma such peop mo ac io me ts ac le ex by ca poor impove catc ci .t in our relationship to the creations such as cities and urban which we live. quickly have alerted the emergency authorSecond. the levels of pollution produced environment varies with other types of enviindustrialized countries would cause ronmental issue too. for instance. The distribution of risks from the ample. Although the 2004 strikes. based le try to enter the country from areas in the American state of Hawaii. For example. people from all over the globe. Although the tsunami in Asia killed vere weather than in Europe. in the richer countries of the Paci c Ocean. where housing and emergency how environmental problems are distribfrastructures are less able to cope with uted. would re directly a ected. If the temperature across the globe – will a ect rished regions of the world are to everyone on the planet.3 The Environment 16/12/08 159 14:38 environment within how can sociolog environmental issu Page 159 First. many of the environmental chalIndian Ocean. non-industrial nations. the who died were native to the coastal regions sues raised by global warming for policyaround the Indian Ocean. as rising levels of immigration as the Paci c Tsunami Warning System. For donors. then ent ways. it will do so in di erh up with the richer ones.
revise their expectations about constant such as to Modern consumerism generates huge amounts of waste. the environment was change. sociology can help us to evaluate ty and its alleviation.Page 9----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. some environmental activists and . global inequalities that currently exist. For future direction of indusexample.tizens of the rich world are going to have in low-lying. Instead. transpolicies and proposals aimed at providing urban living conditions solutions to environmental problems. The natural environ‘green’ writers argue that people in the rich h taken for granted. the important environment. ----------------------. Could the cl insights into hum . Schumacher are ideas within the work of 1977. there came increasingly di cult is little chance that the poor countries of the began to explore the probdeveloping world will sacri ce their own ironmental campaigneconomic growth because of environmenassical theories provide any tal problems created largely by the rich an–environment relations? ematic especially probl people in the s therefore. Stead and Stead 1996). However. upying scholars were social Third.qxd:JOHN Q7. Sociological theories of by a majority of capitalist expansion. They argue that nders of sociology that have rescuing the global environment will thus n environmental direction mean radical social as well as technological ogists. m uch of which has conventionally been simply dumped in land ll sites. pover forming unhealthy and assessing the trial development ment was very muc 16/12/08 14:38 Page 160 simply as the bac pressing and urge ated by industria Although there the classical fou been pursued in a by later sociol not a central pro This situation be once sociologists lems identi ed by env ers. nor. countries must turn away from consumerkdrop to the much more ism and return to simpler ways of life living nt social problems generclose to the land if global ecological disaster l capitalism. poor countries. is to be avoided (Devall 1990.3 160 THE ENVIRONMENT economic growth. given the enormous blem of classical sociology. rationalization can all help us to understand it a central problem for how human societies are transforming the . globalization or ocieties of the time. was social scientists social issues occ inequality.
Durkheim t and critical realist and Weber – paid little attention to what we just how environmental now call ‘environmental issues’. Du 1997). m ological studies been characteriz social constructionis approaches over issues should be stud Social constructi realism Sociology?’ and chapter 11. For instance. ed by a dispute amongst Sociology’s founders – Marx. while Weber investien as less important or gated the connections between religion. However. analysed capitalism and its exploitative onism and critical class relationships (see chapter 1. ed (Braun and Castree 1998. 2002. Are the environmental relationship between human societies and are thought to be most the natural environment was not seen as eally the ones which are ----------------------. rationality and modern capitalism. ‘Theories and Perspecbe seen as signi cant tives in Sociology’).3 16/12/08 161 14:38 Social constructio studying social ronmental proble ists have investi mental issues come to while others are se are largely ignor Hannigan problems 2006) that important today r Page 161 The Environment . Durkheim sought to nism is an approach to understand the sources of social solidarity problems. sociunderlying causes of the environmental of the environment have problems we face today. Murphy global inequality can clarify some of the ost have not. ‘Strati cation and Social Class’). ‘What is Sociolgated how some environogy?’ and chapter 3. In this way.Page 10----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. sociological environmental issues accounts of international relations and nlap et al. Marx ied sociologically.countries. reinterpreting the clas‘survival emissions’. Rather. some governments ndon them altogether to in developing countries have argued that in environmental problems relation to global warming there is no paraland how they might be lel between the ‘luxury emissions’ produced ists have returned to by the developed world and their own ogy. including enviand to establish sociology within academic ms.qxd:JOHN Q7. The . ‘What is Do we need to aba understand how have come about solved? Some sociolog classical sociol sics in the light of (Dickens 2004. Social constructioninstitutions (see chapter 1.
An alternative approach. which no other discipline performs. do they have any vested mental issues in a scienti c way. the most serious and in need of urgent constructionism tells us a lot about people action? and social interactions. this is just not helpful.‘Social mmitted to solving environmental Interaction and Everyday Life’. in part. rather 2004. For environmental activists and Sociology’. imagination 5. Critical realism aims to get moral arguments and why do they do so? beneath the surface of the visible evidence Who opposes the claim and on what to uncover the underlying causes of events grounds? Do opponents stand to lose if the and problems (Benton 1994. problems. but nothing about Constructionists ask a series of important society–environment relations. attempts to approach environthat it is a problem. In short. and chapter 7.For more on social constructionism. and debate knowledge and evidence from They also add something new to our underthe natural and environmental sciences in standing of environmental issues and probits explanations. emotional.1’. explain their opposition? agnosticism of social constructionism Such questions give sociologists a clearly towards the reality of environmental probde ned role in the study of environmental ms. which interest and stand to bene t from doing so? ings together evidence from across the What do they say about it and does the social and natural sciences in order to evidence support this? How do they say it? understand better why environmental Do they use scienti c. critical realists are prepared to accept issues. Realist approaches such as that described socially created or ‘constructed’ by groups ve require the ndings from a range of of people. illusSocial constructionists remind us that all trates some key points of this approach. claim is successful and could that. known as ‘enviWhat is the history of the problem and how ronmental realism’ (Bell 2004) or critical has it developed? Who is making the claim realism. questions about environmental problems. see depleted? – social constructionism remains chapter 3. Nature never does ‘speak for a those co br pr le abo a . ‘Using your sociological lems. environmental problems are. In contrast to the than the evidence. on BSE in the UK. political or oblems occur. Martell 1994). Dickens 1996.‘Theories and Perspectives in gnostic.
understood and explained. Only in this way can we properly ined. the public should be in a better such a problem in the 1980s and ’90s. realists search about the central problem at issue (Irwin for causal explanations and are prepared to 2001). tures. Critical realism seen as important. ought in to prevent a recurrence. political science and This process of construction can be exammore. particularly when of generations of human-controlled cattlestudying environmental issues. And in explain how and why BSE and vCJD posed doing so. natural objects and environments.qxd:JOHN Q7.cademic biology. realists would agree tal problem really is as serious as the claimsthat cows are social as well as natural creamakers say it is. what arguments were takes into account the objective reality of made about it and who opposed the claim. construcIrwin says: ‘The modern cow is the product tionism is problematic. and this But on the central question – is the ozone me ans rethinking our sociological theories layer really becoming dangerously and concepts with this in mind. zoology. British government ministers admitted -Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit in A N the possibility that at least 10 recent human eports that 163 people have died from I G deaths had been caused by a new variant of endering practices were changed and A M Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in humans. a constructionist study explore and debate the natural science of of the depletion of the ozone layer would tell environmental issues in ways that social us a lot about how this problem came to be constructionists do not. ----------------------. Social breeding.1: ‘Mad cow disease’ in the UK O I T In 1996. Arguing a constructionist case. Like position to assess whether an environmensocial constructionists. but 16/12/08 14:38 Page 162 disciplines: Creutzfeldt Edinburgh r vCJD. feeding and housing’ (2001: 80). sociology. Meat-r new rules br . but people do speak on its behalf. itself’. For example. hi story.3 162 THE ENVIRONMENT N 5. Alan For some sociologists though.Page 11----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. constructionism tends to be ‘agnostic’ But unlike constructionists.
whose symptoms are similar to those of enti c assumption that BSE would not U O Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in human pecies barrier was shown to be wrong. nervousness. but is unrelated to BSE. This was a huge shock. Millions of ce of it. The R cattle. From the erbivorous nature by feeding them U experience of sheep farming. regulatory L A people eating beef infected with Bovine the meat industry was thoroughly C Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) during the he episode. unrelated to O least theoretically. could develop the disease. N coordination. A critical realist approach into the human population. Y G beings. The UK BSE prevent it from happening again). the transmission and I C How had this happened? SE was the product of decisions taken O S BSE is a fatal neurodegenerative disease of nimal feed production system. it was thought produced an unexpected outcome that that BSE could not cross the species barrier orecast. I G 1980s. politics. These symptoms include the loss of d beef did lead to vCJD in humans. loss of memory. we Inquiry (1998–2000) identi ed the cause of t kind of creatures cows are: what BSE in cattle as a gene mutation in a single atural capacities? We also need to cow (named Cow 133). But the most widely human beings to know why the disease accepted explanation for the spread of BSE is vastating effects on people.I which may have developed as a result of ce in science. at curring disease in animals. esses. What that cattle were being fed BSE-infected offal n infected foodstuff nds its way into (Macnaghten and Urry 1998: 253–65). public con den bodies and shaken by t On the fa naturally oc social proc spread of B within the a previous sci cross the s BSE-infecte Treating ca denying their h dead cattle no one had f would sugges properly (an measures to need to know wha are their n understand had such de happens whe the human body food producti and economic . The ? We also need to know how the Inquiry Report said that the problem was ‘the on system operates and what political recycling of animal protein in ruminant feed’. ttle as commercial products and I S and aggression (hence ‘mad’ cows). CJD is a t that to understand this event recognized but very rare disease in human d therefore to put in place the right beings. this seems like an episode of a O L people had eaten beef in this period and. However.
----------------------. By THINKING CRITICALLY l realism leads towards an ciology. many research studies consequences. which demands What advantages are there in sociologists taking an ‘agnostic’ stance isting sociological to environmental problems? Why might account of the complex this not be such a good idea? How ociety and environment would social constructionists owever. the National at so much beef in the UK? From this brief sketch of these two that explores approaches. As of 7 January 2008.Page 12----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. H during the chapter in this eld tend to polarized alternat Page 163 Lon Non-fossil electricity High speed train coal-fired electricity Passenger Trains High occupancy Low occu pancy city bus omfort Buses/Trams High c . ‘was now clearly eci c knowledge – just why do so established’.decisions were made that allowed The Report also noted that the link between s to be fed to others. critica environmental the revision so of ex approaches to take intertwining of s (Sutton 2007). as outlined above? veer between these two ives.qxd:JOHN Q7.3 16/12/08 The Environment g haul Medium haul Short haul Air Travel 14:38 163 dead animal culturally sp many people e ciology of the en environmental issu sociological posi theories from w contrast. we can say that social cones from a conventional structionism leads in the direction of a sotion. using concepts and vironment ithin the discipline. And we need BSE and the human vCJD. as we will see investigate the BSE epidemic and its .
Some are local or ally. impact on the global human population. air pollution has been seen as a probregional in character.org/files/PR%20LON-170002A . 10 20 30 . wood and dung. are not as clean as modern fuels such as kerosene and propane. In this sense. 2007 Source: ATAG http://atag. makes them speci cally environmental however.pdf (Slide 6. what they all share and what motorized vehicles. with their greater numbers of factories and However.1 European carbon emissions (grams of carbon per kilometre) by mode of transport. This is (Irwin 2001: 26). It is suggested that more than 90 natural phenomena. such as covers a range of environmental issues. Keep this point in mind because many of the fuels that are burned when you read the rest of this section. they are per cent of deaths linked to air pollution hybrid issues of society and the environment occur in the developing world. attention has been drawn to the issues is that they involve both social reladangers of ‘indoor pollution’ in the developtionships and interactions and non-human. ing world. Until the middle of the twentieth century.Two occupant small car Single occupant light truck Cars/Light trucks 0 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 gC per passenger-km Figure 5. In recent years. As we have seen. while others have an lem that a icts industrialized countries. Pollution and waste air pollution in many countries was caused primarily by the widespread burning of coal mobile emissions. there are many di erent which is caused by burning fuels in the environmental issues confronting the home for heating and cooking. which by people in developing countries. Traditioncontemporary world. produced issues? mainly by industrial pollutants and autoand ‘indoor pollution’. accessed 18 January 2008) What are environmental air pollution: ‘outdoor pollution’.
caused by toxic emissions into and thick black smoke into the atmosphere. the practice remains to make a distinction between two types of widespread. Acid rain is harmful to natural gas. f lakes.Page 13----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05.Air pollution – a fossil fuel – which emits sulphur dioxide Air pollution.3 164 THE ENVIRONMENT heat homes and as power in factories. in an attempt to reduce smog. a Clean occurs when sulphur Air Act was passed in Britain to regulate emissions in one counemissions from chimneys. propane and er.qxd:JOHN Q7.1 nteract because it is shows.000 la have been acidi ed. 20. a 1956. which account for some 80 ple. for exam linked to industri of New York.7 million lives per year. Like many en rain is di cult to cou transnational in 16/12/08 14:38 Page 164 quences. have a particual production in the state larly harmful impact on the environment. It is possible the developing world. is thought to claim more In many Eastern European countries and than 2. Canada. For this to tackle the problem. Poland Since the 1960s the main source of air ntries have been particpollution has been the growth in the use of acid rain. Vehicle emissions are kes out of a total of 90. Coal was used extensively to ----------------------. for motorized vehicles. were promoted and are now animal life. such as kerosene. In Sweden. the range of emissions that are its origins and conseproduced by di erent types of vehicle is acid rain in eastern quite large. acid emissions from chimneys. reason. Much of the Canada. Smokeless types orders and produce acidic of fuels. crops and the acidi cation o and the Nordic cou ularly hard hit by example. As gure 5. has been shown as per cent of travel in Europe. In pollution is acid rain. Other coun rain have simila within their control since its origins . and leads to widely used in the industrialized countries. attempts to reduce air pollution in consequence of air phenomenon which and nitrogen oxide try drift across b rainfalls in anoth forests. Cars.000 particularly harmful because they enter the atmosphere at a much lower level than vironmental issues. a border. A cross the US–Canadian single occupancy car journey can cause the tries su ering from acid same weight of carbon emissions per kilorly found that it is not metre travelled as a long-haul ight. the atmosphere.
Although outdoor pollution has long been associated with industrialized . factory emismany other pursuits. cookin and shing Although water is and essential natu su ered enormous a human beings. people have depended countries. and Air pollution does not only a ect the an water for the human health of human and animal populations. many industrialized countries have focused es. it is growing rapidly in the develhost of important needs – oping world. Only though economic restructuring and the entury or so have concerted collapse of industrial manufacturing in in many countries to these areas has reduced this somewhat y of water. In many developing ral resources. buse at the hands of although it has been phased out in much of many years. For ucts – both human were dumped oceans with barely in the past half c e orts been made protect the qualit sh and wildlife ensure access to cle population. to preserve the since the 1990s. Water pollution Throughout history on water to ful l a drinking. As countries undergo rapid g. cancers and lung disease.Page 14----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05.3 16/12/08 14:38 In some agreements instanc have attempt to reduce Yet emissions re and are growing qu world. it has also countries. irrigating processes of industrialization. waste prodthe developed world. Levels of air pollution and manufactured – were particularly high in many areas of Eastdirectly into rivers and ern Europe and the (former) Soviet Union. bilateral or regional on the use of low-emission travel alternabeen concluded in an tives such as passenger trains. washing. sions increase and the number of vehicles one of the most valuable on the roads also grows. crops. Rega water pollution re in many parts of t Page 165 Even in lush rainforest where water is abundant.lie across national borders. it rdless of these e orts. main high in some areas Air pollution has been linked to a number ickly in the developing of health problems among humans. high occuthe severity of acid rain. factories and intensive . that depend on it. One harmful he world. urba n settlements. ----------------------. pancy buses and the sharing of car journeys. including respiratory di culties. a second thought.qxd:JOHN Q7. also has a damaging impact on other mains a serious problem elements of the ecosystem. leaded petrol is still in use.
Water pollution can be understood ome progress is being made to improve broadly to refer to the contamination of the ess to the world’s resources of water.Page 15----------------------GIDDENS(6) CHAP 05. raising the underdeveloped in many of the world’s for customers. Some years.1 The privatization of water China. One of the ‘Millennium Development billion cases of diarrhoea are caused Goals’ set by the United Nations in 2000 is to lly by contaminated water. water supply by elements such as toxic ing the 1990s. Over a period diarrhoea. rivers and lakes. around the world lack access to safe drinkalso gure 5. The problem may actuing water and more than two billion lack y be worsening as water supplies in develsanitation. such as tilizers in agricultural areas. has degradatio A repo 16/12/08 14:38 Page 166 two annua milli rhoea S acc Dur gai num wat lar see all opi cost glo dro I pol fer of Western companies have the know-how – and led to widespread pollution and the financial incentive – to supply water to poor n of the local environment. whilst the e ects of poorest countries and human waste prodbal warming produce more regular ucts are often emptied directly into streams. nations. It poses the greatest ber to sanitation. as Richard Wachman reports. But. particuCurrently.qxd:JOHN Q7. dysentery and hepatitis.3 166 THE ENVIRONMENT Global Society 5.1’). The high levels of bacteria n industrialized countries. Sanitation systems remain ng countries are privatised. er supplies remains a problem. nitrates from chemical pesticides ----------------------. 2015. ughts (see ‘Global Society 5.2). pesticides or ned access to safe water and the same untreated sewage. nearly one billion people chemicals and minerals. though ensuring safe threat to people in the developing world. cases of water that result from untreated sewage lead to a lution are often caused by the overuse of variety of water-borne diseases.farming practices can make getting access to clean wa ter a dif cult task. more than one billion people ly in some parts of Africa (UNDP 2002. ve ‘reduce by half the proportion of people on people die each year from diarwithout access to safe drinking water’ by l diseases. their rt out today from accountancy giant .
Moments later a uniformed tte. brie ng by an international bank last week. says: of cer astride a horse shouts an order and the water is expected to be driven by police charge down the street to embark on a clubgrowth and population increases. it more tha clean wa at Deloi ‘Demand for economic demand for 2020. The question for countries as far apart as China ooks vulnerable. a -thirds of the global population will live senior executive said: ‘Today everyone is talking es where water will be a scarce about global warming. as two years water will move to the top of the ations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon geopolitical agenda. drought (exacerbated e crux of the problem remains: according by global warming) and increased demand from ort from Credit Suisse.’ caused by rising population. where war and civil tal issue and one that the technology strife loom in the wake of chronic water shortages an play a major role in addressing. Paul Lee. India’s wielding melée that leaves dozens of bloodied water is expected to exceed supply by protesters with broken limbs. this would cause a water shortage for over the municipal water utility and increased bills to ion people. the US engineering giant. According to the rm’s ndings. And that could lead to con ict. t form of liquid in the world is therefore a Welcome to a new world. By 2025. A lm clip from the latest offering from Hollywood? d Wildlife Fund has forecast that in the Unfortunately not. Bolivia’s third largest city. took rea. It’s a description of a real-life event the retreat of glaciers could reduce in Cochabamba. n one billion people will lack access to angry at proposals to put up their water bills by ter by next year. In the subsidiary of Bechtel. and one of the authors of the report. At a City ble the rate of population growth. research director more than a third. Lee says: ‘The lack of the most a level that the poorest could not afford. where a er ows by up to two-thirds. with China planning to and Argentina is whether to unleash market forces ff Tibet’s water supply to make up for by allowing access to private European and Deloitte & peculiar resource water’. police facing thousands of jeering demonstrators.’ t week.involvement is already provoking unrest … Touche says humans seem to have a talent for making previously abundant Water becomes the new oil as world runs dry s scarce: ‘This is especially the case with The midday sun beats down on a phalanx of riot observes.’ The Worl Himalayas. but my prediction is that in y. annual world water the newly af uent middle classes in the emerging sen sixfold during the past century. summer wat Ganges a 500 mill importan fundamen sector c But th to a rep use has ri than dou almost two in countri commodit United N warned las Asia l syphon o shortage . more economies of Asia and Latin America.
Observer.s in the parched north. to pay. people have traditionally received supplies for free from local wells and rivers. the American multinationals that have the technological alestine con ict is at least partly about know-how to help bring water to the masses – upplies from the River Jordan. Some of the most polluted y over a period of years. Israel-P securing s water is has left most bas be highe Source: 2007 water can be fo areas. When it comes to this As Cochabamba illustrates. Darfur devastated. where other metals ha and continue sl the water suppl . nearly 25 und near former industrial per cent of groundwater in Europe shows traces of mercury. especially in places such as seep into the groundwater supply. or a major feature of the strife in Sudan that unwilling. where r. lead and levels of contamination higher than that ve lodged in the sediments deemed permissible by the European Union owly to emit pollutants into (UNDP 1998). the stakes could hardly explosive issue in developing countries. water is an ic of commodities. similarly. Elsewhere. 9 December rapid industrialisation. but at a price that many may be unable. But in the past 15 years Richard Wachman.