Clashing Views on Controversial Environmental Issues by Easton Essay

The Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial environmental issues, expanded 11th edition presents before us a number of existing controversial issues. They have been presented in an elaborate debate style format that stimulates the students interest and develops their . The author of the book is Thomas Atwood Easton and he has thoughtfully framed each issue with a separate summary, introduction and postscript. For each volume, an instructors manual along with proper testing material is also available. Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial environmental issues, expanded 11th edition can be used in our modern classrooms as it is an exceptional resource for the instructors and provides practical suggestions on how to incorporate the highly effective approaches in the classrooms.

The paperback edition of Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial environmental issues, expanded 11th edition has 432 pages and has been published by McGraw Hill. It belongs to the universally acclaimed and belongs to the genre of Science and Nature and Environmental Science. Nineteen of our important current environmental issues have been discussed in the book giving both their pros and cons in a debate format. The revised edition represents the issues through the arguments of many leading policy makers, educators, behavioral and social scientists, contemporary commentators and environmentalists reflecting a huge variety of viewpoints. The Issue Introduction is very important as it provides the students with a proper historical background and context to each of the issues or debates before the two contrasting viewpoints are given. The students can then read the debate and after reading it, they are provided with other important viewpoints that needs consideration in the Issue Postscript. This section also provides recommendations on further reading. Thus, this combination of Issue Introduction, Yes side of the issue, No side of the issue and Issue Postscript encourages critical thinking among the students and helps them to develop a concern for the environment around them.

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The various topics and issues that have been debated in the book are:

Part 1. Environmental Philosophy

Issue 1. Is the Precautionary Principle a Sound Basis for International Policy?

Issue 2. Is Sustainable Development Compatible With Human Welfare?

Issue 3. Should a Price Be Put on the Goods and Services provided by the Worlds Ecosystems?

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Part 2.

Issue 4. Is Biodiversity Overprotected?

Issue 5. Should Environmental Policy Attempt to Cure Environmental Racism?

Issue 6. Can Pollution Rights Trading Effectively Control Environmental Problems?

Issue 7. Do Environmentalists Overstate Their Case?

Part 3. Energy Issues

Issue 8. Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Be Opened to Oil Drilling?

Issue 9. Should Society Act Now to Forestall Global Warming?

Issue 10. Will Hydrogen End Our Fossil-Fuel Addiction?

Issue 11. Should Existing Power Plants Be Required to Install State-of-the-Art Pollution Controls?

Issue 12. Is It Time to ?

Part 4. Food and Population

Issue 13. Is Limiting Population Growth a Key Factor in Protecting the Global Environment?

Issue 14. Is Genetic Engineering an Environmentally Sound Way to Increase Food Production?

Issue 15. Are Marine Reserves Needed to Protect Global Fisheries?

Part 5. Toxic Chemicals

Issue 16. Should DDT Be Banned Worldwide?

Issue 17. Do Environmental Hormone Mimics Pose a Potentially Serious Health Threat?

Issue 18. Is the Superfund Program Successfully Protecting the Environment from Hazardous Wastes?

Issue 19. Should the United States Continue to Focus Plans for Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal Exclusively at Yucca Mountain? (Easton, 2006)

Dr. Thomas Atwood Easton is a leading expert in his own field and has dedicated his life towards improving the interests, careers and lives of readers all over the world. He is a professor of Life Sciences at the Thomas College in Waterville, Maine. He is also an eminent science fiction critic. He has received a Doctorate from the University of Chicago in Theoretical Biology. His numerous works on futuristic and scientific issues has been published in many magazines. His books on and various books on the denationalization of the social services, consultants and entrepreneurs and careers in science. He has also written another book in the Taking Sides series, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Science, Technology, and Society, 8th edition.

Issue 4. Is Biodiversity Overprotected?
In the Part 2. Principles versus Politics of the book, the fourth issue is Is Biodiversity Overprotected? A renowned economic professor David N. Laband argues over the issue by agreeing to it. According to him, the public requires excessive and sometimes unreasonable amounts of biodiversity mainly because the voters and decision makers do not have to pay the cost for producing it. Writer and wildlife conservation researcher Howard Youth, on the other hand, debates that the various actions required for the protection of biodiversity have many economic benefits and the same measures are required to guarantee a sustainable and prosperous future for all of humanity.

According to David N. Labands views, biodiversity is sometimes overprotected. He believes that the public demands for the excessive protection of our biodiversity mainly because a number of them are not responsible for its preservation. Only the actual landowners are made to bear the cost of protecting our biodiversity. Most of the urban residents want to have animal habitats, biodiversity and aesthetic landscapes but they do not willing to pay a price for it. The Government is pressurized to pass certain laws that will compel the landowners to pay the financial requirement needed to maintain the different ecological amenities. The landowners unable to sustain the whole cost of protecting the biodiversity alone, solve the money problem by using their land for real estate development and for commercial purpose instead of using it for the production of timber. In such a scenario, even if one of the landowners by luck find a rare endangered species in his property, it is better for him to keep mum about it or worst shoot it. This clearly indicates that most of our environmental laws are required to be amended in order that all of the citizens equally share the actual cost needed to protect our biodiversity.

David N. Labands believes that it is mainly the urban occupants who demand the preservation of our biodiversity but do not always put their requirements into actual practice in their own backyard. Rather than allowing natural fauna and flora to grow wildly on their own around their beautiful homes, they pay millions of dollars for purchasing artificial synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in order to create ecological forests around their houses. They are ready to support the biodiversity in the rural urban areas as long as the cost of preserving the biodiversity falls directly on the rural landowners and not on them. Instead, it should be the timberland owners who should be supplied with financial aids by our government for preserving our ecological diversity and its properties.

David N. Laband tries to prove his point by giving us an account of his own life. He says that one summer a huge pine tree was killed due to lightning in his backyard and the pine bark beetles killed another tree. If both these trees fell then a lot of damage could be caused to his house. Therefore, for his familys safety it would have been better to have the tree removed. However, he did not do so for the sake of biodiversity, putting his family in danger. If he had removed the tree then many animals that depended on the tree would vanish. He also says that while on one hand many people demand wooden houses, wooden furniture and paper products, they also want animal habitats and biodiversity. However, these two conflicting ideas cannot be obtained simultaneously. Similarly even, at the macro level we face a trade-off due to compromise between the production or consumption of timber and the production or consumption of various interrelated environmental amenities.

On the other hand, Howard Youth says that due to the overprotection of our biodiversity there has been a decline in the state of all of the worlds population of birds. He then goes on describing the reason for the decline and measures that can be taken for them. He also argues that if actions are taken for the protection of the birds then there will be numerous economic benefits too. These measures are also required for insuring a sustainable future for all of humanity.

Howard Youth does not agree to the issue and says that the biodiversity is not overprotected. He says that various changes in our environment related to global warming, depletion of ozone layer and pollution are important but can be reversed to certain extent. However, species extinction and loss of the biodiversity can never be reversed. Although we are not deliberately wiping out creation, he believes in some way we are responsible for the extinction of almost 20 percent of species in the next two or three decades. Each species is in itself a masterpiece of the process of evolution and has been continuously evolving for millions of years. Before humans came into being the average life span of some species was half of a million years but now the rate that we have inflicted now has been increased by a hundred to thousand times. By depriving the planet of the various life forms, we are not only reducing the productivity of our natural ecosystems but also its stability. The marine and land reserves and habitats need to grow big since if we reduce their size we are automatically reducing the total number of species, which can live on that reserve. The citizens and governments need to be persuaded so that they take measures towards protection of our biodiversity. We need more media people, government advisors and public philosophers with strong scientific backgrounds and knowledge about the biodiversity so that proper actions can be taken.

The Issue Postscript of the issue Is Biodiversity Overprotected? concludes that in order to actually determine whether our biodiversity is indeed overprotected or not we need to first define the amount of protection, which is necessary. Our current knowledge is actually inadequate, as still we need to perform a lot of research. A debate on whether the excellent way of protecting our biodiversity is by protecting our natural habitat or by protecting the individual species is still going on. We also need to harbor the endangered species that share the same habitat. For the adequate and proper conservation of our biodiversity, we need to consider the market based funding system. For the conservation of our biodiversity, all the various services that the biodiversity provides to our humans race and also for the ecological health of our planet it is required to have proper financing on such a scale that is much more larger than that which is viable from philanthropic and public sources. It is necessary for us to find out new and improved mechanisms the use of which will enable the resource managers and owners to realize the various economic values that have been created by the excellent situation of our biodiversity. It had also been noticed that most of the conservation techniques not only have a number of economic benefits but also are quite inexpensive.

From reading Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial environmental issues, expanded 11th edition and the issue of Is Biodiversity Overprotected? We realize that biodiversity is extremely crucial for the survival of the human race and that we need a number of great efforts if we want to preserve it for our future generations. If we lose even one particular species of plants or animals alike and they become forever extinct then this affects the whole ecosystem. A number of potential drugs, which can be used for curing various modern diseases, are sometimes lost forever. This is the very reason why humans need to protect the biodiversity and take special care of the other important life forms on the planet. It will be us, the people, who will have to incur most of the hard suffering if we do not do so.

The extinction of plant and animal species is a completely normal process that goes on continuously in the nature. It has been found that almost 99.9 % of all the different species that had once lived on the planet have now become extinct. However, since this process of continual extinction takes place in small steps, it generally does not always cause a lot of harm to the species that are left behind. If the process of extinction takes place in a gradual and natural manner then we will have a number of new species that will slowly replace the older ones through the process of mutation and sympatric or allopatric speciation. Loss of habitat, changes in our climate, powerful predators, diseases and various other elements cause the natural extinction of animal and plant life. (Boersema, 2008) Nevertheless, the state that we are in today and the things that are happening are entirely different. It is due to the deliberate action of some human, like the extremely greedy capitalists who only care about their bank accounts, that today our environment needs to be protected from the havoc caused to it.


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