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Capitalism and the Global Environment

Introduction

The society today is ignorant of the socio-economic system that the world operates in. In many ways, this is quite upsetting considering that a large majority of the people is somewhat indifferent on what others are doing on the planet and the consequences of such actions. The world today is largely capitalistic, with many people suffering as a result of its effects on the global environment. The high level of environmental destruction that is being witnessed in the world today is a result of capitalism. Consequently, many people, especially those in the Third World countries, are bearing the greatest brunt of the effects of capitalism on the global environment.

Greening of Capitalism

Greening of capitalism is now a phenomenon that is filtering through today’s culture. This is evident by the way in which eco-friendly products as well as superficial marketing carried out by a number of corporations like ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, and BP. It is also evident in high echelons political power, which is witnessed by the way in which the United States administration promotes green energy initiatives as well as green jobs initiatives. In many ways, green capitalism is a way that can also be used to lever the market to fix the environment challenges being witnessed across the world (Rogers, 2010).

Advocates of the green capitalism are of the view that since fossil fuels as well as other natural resources are inadequate and diminishing, the current fiscal structure will without doubt run up against deficiencies (Rogers, 2010). When a resource becomes scarce and expensive, it is only logical if corporations figure out how to manage with less. According to the supporters of green economy, the use of few resources is beneficial to the environment as well as the revenue. If a firm can manage to spend less on inputs, the efficiency of its operations is also augmented. Ultimately, this is an ecological way of boosting the bottom-line (Rogers, 2010).

Green capitalism is also instrumental in creating transparency in the market system. This is because it encourages the use of fewer resources. As a matter of fact, the less resource a manufacturer uses in processing a product, the cheaper the commodity will be. On the other hand, if more resources are used, a product will definitely be expensive. In this way, since a consumer is likely to end up looking for his/her own interest, the consumer is likely to end up gravitating towards the cheaper products (Rogers, 2010).

Ultimately, as a result of the laws of competition, manufacturers will have to follow the green capitalism option, in order to appease the consumers. Eventually, the objective of protecting the ecological system as well as the health of humanity will be achieved. This is possible through the mechanisms of market dynamics.

Natural Capitalism

Green capitalism also promotes natural capitalism which accounts for the inability of the forces of the free market to bring about an eco-transformation. It is here that the intervention of the government is required (Rogers, 2010). This is due to the fact that the involvement of the government is a fundamental aspect of green capitalism. This initiative requires a guiding hand, in order to encourage the green capitalists to keep up with the noble work. Eventually, the moment the cost/price integration is put in place, the market should then be in a position of operating independently, with slight checks along the process (Rogers, 2010).

Green capitalism is vital in today’s business environment, since it is instrumental in promising a rising fiscal system which uses less from the biosphere. In many ways, humanity does not need a slow-growth or no-growth in order to save the planet (Rogers, 2010). Everybody can fix the market and in so doing acts as a remedy to the environmental challenges that the planet earth is undergoing. Humanity can also make use of the environmental actualities to alter market mechanisms. By and large, green economy promises to reshape the environmental crisis to meet the market’s ends (Rogers, 2010).

For instance, through organic farming, farmers are able to produce rich biological gene pools, which is effective getting rid of weeds and bugs without the need of chemicals. This kind of nonconventional farming is ecologically beneficial, even though it might not be reasonably sustainable (Rogers, 2010).

The Green Economy

It is worth noting that in spite of the fact that the green economy concept does not have a clear definition globally, all stakeholders however concur with the very fact that humanity has to do better with less. It is largely a concept that is not a replacement for sustainable development, but is meant to achieve sustainability, not only ecologically and fiscally, but also socially. In many ways, it is a concept that necessitates go-getting to bring together the often conflicting requirements for the well being of humanity as well as the ecosystem.

Greening the Economy with Agriculture

The concept of greening the economy with agriculture is made in reference to ensuring food security. In this regard, it is possible to achieve food security in the world by ensuring that fewer natural resources are used, even with the application of enhanced efficiencies. It is possible to achieve this by means of putting into effect the ecosystem approach to forestry, agriculture, fisheries management, as well as looking into the needs and the desires of the society at large.

Greening the economy with agriculture is a concept that also seeks to strike a balance between diverse societal objectives. This is mainly because of the fact that it takes into account the understanding as well as the reservations concerning abiotic, biotic, as well as the human workings of the ecological unit and their connections.  It also bears an integrated approach to agriculture, forestry, and food chains within the meaningful environmental boundaries.

Significance of Greening the Economy with Agriculture

It is now a known thing that the entire world has to grapple with challenges regarding the fuel, food, financial and climate crises. Over the past few decades, the global carbon emissions have risen by approximately 40%. Coupled with the considerable water as well as oil scarcity, over a billion people in the entire globe go to bed hungry, with others is some parts of the world suffering from over-nutrition. At the moment, almost two billion individuals live on lass than $2 dollars on a daily basis.

Global inequality is now a reality, especially following the fiscal crises that hit the entire globe in 2008. This brought a number of questions on the sustainability of the capitalism, the world’s economic system. Because of the predicted rise in the increasing global population, the rise in demand for resources is definitely bound to constrain the already limited ecological resources.

At the moment, a number of communities dwelling in mountainous regions of the world have to grapple with food scarcity especially as a result of discarding traditional farming practices in favor the unsustainable farming methods which are carried out in the weak mountain terrain. In this regard, protecting the mountain ecosystem will go a long way in reducing the number of individuals dwelling in such areas especially if they are empowered. This is also instrumental in supporting constancy in the mountain regions.

Studies indicate that the presence of farming activities on mountainous regions negatively affects the natural resources that are prevalent in these regions. In this regard, it is imperative to employ sound management of these sectors, lest the ecosystem is affected. This is likely to have a direct impact on climate change as well as agricultural production. It is therefore environmentally sustainable to reduce the negative impacts on the farming systems, by promoting the use of accessible agricultural systems which have shown to be ecologically sustainable.

The concept of green economy is also instrumental in sustaining the global economy as well as eradicating poverty. Just as resolving societal disparities is vital in the effectual resolution of the environmental predicaments, healthy ecosystems are also important for food security as well as sustainable rural livelihoods. It is high time humanity considered the significance of agriculture, forestry as well as fisheries in the eradication of poverty as well as its impact on the management of natural resources.

Global Capitalism

Capitalism as a system is founded on the basis of private ownership that is geared towards the production and distribution of commodities with the goal of maximization of profits. Global capitalism is a term which was previously used to indicate much good to the world in general. However, over the past couple of years, it has apparently fallen into serious disrepute.

In many ways, globalization, a term used to indicate the rise of the market capitalism around the globe, has greatly contributed to economic boom of the United States, as well as other Western economies. It has been instrumental in the creation of millions of jobs, as well as the abundance of affordable products to a large number of consumers in the West.

In spite of the many benefits that global capitalism has created, its effects have been brutal. This has been witnessed in the deserts of Chad, following the near disappearance of Lake Chad, as well as the misery that factory workers undergo in several parts of the world. Global capitalism has led to the suffering of several factory workers who have to toil for up to 16 hours a day for meager payments while making garments sold in the United States, as well as other Western nations. By and large, global capitalism has resulted in reckless investments whose effects will be felt for a very long time to come.

Effects of Global Capitalism on the Environment

The Greenhouse Effect

Global capitalism has greatly contributed to the growth of industries, following the increase of consumerism. This creates the desire for the maximization of profits since industries are out to get the least expensive sources, using the least expensive labor, and externalizing overheads such as waste disposal and pollution. These are the factors that lead to the increase of industrialization, which in turn led to the greenhouse effect. In many ways, this is the actual rise in the earth’s temperature as a result of warmth and the brightness from the sun being absorbed in the earth’s atmosphere (Bishop, 2008). This is similar to what happens when heat is absorbed inside a car parked outside on a hot day. The heat is able to get in, but has no way of getting out, which eventually leads to a rise in temperature. Similarly, in the earth’s atmosphere, when heat and light from the sun get trapped, this results in an increase in the earth’s temperature (Bishop, 2008).

The greenhouse effect is very beneficial, since it makes the planet earth habitable. This is due to the fact that without the greenhouse effect, the planet would either be too hot during the day as a result of the sun’s heat or too cold at night (Bishop, 2008). Unfortunately, the greenhouse effect is usually negatively influenced as a result of the presence of too many gases, which are usually released by the growing number of industries, thus leading to a warmer than usual atmosphere (Magdoff & Foster, 2012). The presence of too many greenhouse gases affects the ecological equation of the earth, since it results in a change of climatic conditions (Bishop, 2008).

Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases are basically those gases that gather and preserve heat and light from the sun. In many ways, the existence of numerous greenhouse gases in the environment results in too much heat on the earth, since these gases tend to trap much heat. One of the main greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (Haldar, 2011). In most cases, carbon dioxide is discharged into the atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, which is done to produce electricity.

The burning of gasoline accounts for approximately 33% of all the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere (Haldar, 2011). This comes from the internal combustion of engines of vehicles, buses, trucks, as well as motorcycles, all of which are on the rise due to global capitalism. Apparently, the aviation industry also contributes to up to 5% of carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.

Nitrous oxide is another key greenhouse gas. It is actually a colorless gas, which is non-flammable, with a sweet scent. Nitrous oxide is known to come from nitric acid, catalytic converters, as well as agricultural fertilizers.

How Global Capitalism Leads to Global Warming

The Burning of Fossil Fuels

A significant number of researches have been done on the real causes of global warming. According to climate scientists, one of the key sources of global warming is the release of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-burning power plants (Maslin 2006). This mainly results from the world’s addiction to electricity, which is produced from the smoldering of fossil fuels. By and large, power plants that are used are very instrumental in discharging colossal quantities of carbon dioxide into the environment (Haldar, 2011).

It is estimated that about 40% of carbon dioxide discharged in the United States result from the generation of electricity. Additionally, 93% of emissions come from the burning of coal which is prevalent in the electricity utility industry. It is also worth noting that the high dependency on burning coal for domestic and commercial supply of electricity seriously hurts the environment (Maslin 2006).

Deforestation

One of the major causes of global warming is deforestation. In some parts of the world, especially in developing countries, people still use wood and charcoal for fuel. Consequently, a lot of trees have to be cut down to meet the demand for these sources of fuel (Haldar, 2011). In addition, the developing world has a strong appetite for wood and paper products, thus resulting in massive deforestation. In Brazil, the large parts of the Amazon forest have been wiped out to pave way for the plantation of the Soya bean and coffee. This is due to the global capitalism.

Over the past few years, the use of tropical forest lands for palm oil plantations has been on the increase. As a result, this has led to the destruction of forest covers to create land for the cultivation of palm oil plantations (Haldar, 2011). Eventually, deforestation results in the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as well as the decrease in the amount of carbon that is captured by the forests.

The Transport Industry

The transport sector is also responsible for the emission of carbon dioxide as a result of burning gasoline from transportation (Maslin, 2006). Humanity is somewhat addicted to a modern culture in which people have the appetite for globally sourced goods. With the rise in the population of the world, this has resulted in a rise in the demand for more cars, as well as consumer goods, thus escalating the use of fossil fuels for industrialization and haulage (Maslin, 2006).