Social Issues and Psychology:
Psychology & The Environment
Fall, 1997

Capstone Projects

Guidelines for Projects

Abstracts of Student Capstone Projects
Please Note: These materials may be used for research, study, and education, but please credit the authors and source.

Jim Berling: God's Creation Through the Eyes of Moral Conviction 
Chad Crandall: The World's Population Crisis
Julie Curtis: Overpopulation, Catholicism and the Muslim Religion
Wendi Hauck:
Air Pollution and Women: Problems and Solutions
Amy Henn: Population Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons 
Ehren Hines:
Social & Psychological Aspects of the Exploding World Population
Shannon Ingalls: Ecotourism
-- What is it and What are its Effects????
Cory King: Military Impact in Land Conservation
Mary Krebsbach:
China's One Child Policy and Its Implications
Mike Kurka:  Modifying Consumption Patterns and Sustainable Growth
Jeff Lewis: The Electronic Face of Environmental groups 
Marianna Panova:
Why Do We Say "Mother Nature"? Ecofeminist perspective on the roots of Modern environmental problems
Denise Sobieski:  Poverty and the Environment
John Ward: Environmental Racism




Jim Berling: God's Creation Through the Eyes of Moral Conviction 

    The state of the environment is seen by many as an important issue that needs our outmost attention. Often it is these people who are involved in such activities as recycling and conservation. Still there are others who disregard the environment as significant and dismiss personal obligations for maintaining it. These two conflicting views are quite contrasting but could in fact be held by quite similar people. You may ask, how is this possible and why does it happen? I propose the answer to these questions lies in our individual moral codes. These codes are comprised of different value and ethic systems which, I suggest, function to influence our behavior in everyday activities. It is this underlying force that establishes our sentiments toward not only the environment, but toward all aspects of our lives.

    There are three value and ethic systems that constitute human- environmental relations. One, which is known as the egocentric ethic, is indicative of those who place the pursuit of self-interest above other values. The second value system is called the homocentric ethic. Here, the good of the human species is placed above other values. Finally, there exists the ecocentric ethic. It is characterized by the belief that humans should make sacrifices in order to benefit the entire biosphere. Which of these three value orientations a person follows affects their perspective of the environment.

    I posit that the adoption of a particular value system is a direct result of socialization by four principal institutions. Each of these sources of influence may work exclusively or collaboratively to construct beliefs that are illustrated in our daily actions. One such source is our parents. Our mothers and fathers tend to have an enormous impact on most of our lives, particularly during childhood. As we grow older, peers begin to replace parents as primary derivations of learned behavior. This second contributor to value establishment can prove to be either positive or negative depending on who we interact with. Television, the third fundamental designer of values, can also be seen as either positive or negative. TV shows today are as diverse as personalities. A final creator of ethic systems is religion. In some cases, spirituality is powerful enough to hold precedence over any other contributor of values. All of these originators of value orientations create beliefs that play a role in our particular comprehension of the World.

    Throughout the socialization process, new contributors may appear to alter our perceptions. Although personal value systems are difficult to change, modification may allow for long term reformation of orientations. This is helpful in order to show that there is hope for those who insist on viewing the environment as belonging to humans for the sole purpose of exploitation. Whether we realize it or not, we unconsciously display our moral codes through familiar actions. Ultimately it seems that the future of the environment and other global problems may lie in our value and ethic orientations. For this reason, it is up to us as a society to make sure the future is bright for generations to come.

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Chad Crandall: The World's Population Crisis

    The unprecedented speed and magnitude of increase in the world's population in recent decades have earned the name "population explosion". The world population is closing in on 5.9 billion people and is increasing by nearly 90 million a year. The United Nations has projected that world population will eventually stabilize at a low of around 8 billion, or at a high of 12 billion. Unless we start taking a active role in slowing this process down, the world will be doomed.

    In demographic terms, the explanation for the rapid growth of the world's population in the last two decades is the decline of the death rate. All the technological advances made during the Industrial Revolution led to the improvements of diets, clothing, housing, public sanition, medical science, and popular education. "It is no disparagement of medical science and practice," said Warren Thompson in 1953, "to recognize that the great decline in the death rate that has taken place during the last two centuries in the West is due, basically, to improvement in production and economic conditions."

    It has been noted that unrestricted access to natural resources can trigger the tragedy-of-the-commons process when human numbers, and their activities, reach high enough levels. This theory also holds true when humans are given reproductive freedom. If we allow people to have as many children as they want without making them take complete responsibility for their care, our current situation will only get worse. People will abuse the system if they know society will pick up the extra slack.

    It turns out that national population-control policies rely almost exclusively on "family planning". More specifically, these policies set up programs designed to improve contraception methods and diffuse them to the public. China is the only country in the world that has recognized it has too many people and actually had the nerve to do something about it. The only mistake they made was not making this single-child program universal throughout the country. The one-child policy is only enforced in congested urban areas. They are still giving the people in the rural areas, free reign on the number of children they can have. It's important to give China the credit for taking a active stance on the issue, but they have by no means fixed their problem.

    Our best chance of solving the population crisis is to let each country produce as many babies as the government decides is appropriate. The catch to this is that each country must take care of the babies it produces. The United States sending food to Ethiopia does more harm than good. The more we encourage population growth in Ethiopia by sending food, the more damage is being done to their production system. The lands there are being used beyond it's carrying capacity because there are far more people than renewable resources. If we're going to correct our present predicament we have to make individuals responsible for their own actions.

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Julie Curtis: Overpopulation, Catholicism and the Muslim Religion

    Overpopulation is a worldwide problem that is worsening every day. Between the Second World War and the 1990's, the world's population increased from 2.5 billion to 5 billion people. The United Nations have projected that, unless drastic changes occur, the world will be forced to hold 8.5 billion people in 2025, and around 10 billion in 2050. This is a serious issue, but few perceive population growth as a real problem. Only when consumption of materials, the environment, and the standards of living are negatively impacted, does the seriousness of overpopulation come to our attention.

    Religion is often considered the most powerful tool used to control humans. Many scholars argue that morals, beliefs, values, and religious teachings play a major role in causing global and regional environmental problems. Religious beliefs and practices differ, resulting in diverse opinions and worldviews. An important issue concerning religious beliefs, that has sparked much debate, is birth control and its effects on the environment, specifically overpopulation. This issue is a part of every religion. However, I have focused on Catholicism and the Muslim religion.

    As of May 1997, the world consisted of 975,937,000 Catholics. This accounts for 17% of the world population! Due to the large number of Catholics, their views have an impact on global conditions. The Catholic position does not allow abortion or any other form of birth control. This has a lot to do with the Catholic belief that marriage is for the purpose of procreation, and that interfering with this by means of birth control is immoral. Catholics have always believed that a human being is destined by God and is created for a purpose. They believe that individuals are more important than numbers, which relates to their lack of participation in organizations that seek to control the growth of world population. However, despite all these beliefs, reports indicate that a large number of Catholic women do seek abortion as a solution to birth control. It is evident that a separation exists in the Catholic religion, with those who agree with birth control and those who do not.

    The world has more than 1 billion Muslims, making it the second largest religion in the world. Muslims allow the use of birth control and tolerate abortion. The Muslim religion believes that the act of contraception is justifiable in controlling the population, and is beneficial to limiting the family to a manageable size.

    The solutions that I came up with for the issue of birth control and its effect on overpopulation are incentives, education, and the changing of values. Incentives, such as tax breaks, education assistance, and special benefits could be given to families who participate in fertility limiting. Families should be educated on birth control, its availability, and family planning. The last solution should concentrate on reworking human attitudes and values. It is believed that only when there is a major change in values will people involve themselves in activities, such as fertility planning. I feel that each of these solutions could be useful in curbing the overpopulation problem.

    A common question asked when speaking of religion, birth control and overpopulation, is whether or not religions, specifically those who do not allow birth control, are to blame for the world being overpopulated. This is a hard question to answer, especially since we have seen that not all people follow the beliefs of their religion. Until we can actually live in a world, where every religion allows birth control and people use it, and we see the results, I really do not feel that we can point any fingers.

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Wendi Hauck: Air Pollution and Women: Problems and Solutions

     Air pollution is becoming more and more of a problem in today's society. As cities and industries grow, so do pollution levels. This increase in pollution level has adverse effects on the environment and on health. These effects are detrimental to all of the human population, but especially to women.

    Air pollution is what social psychologists commonly refer to as a tragedy of the commons. Garrett Hardin defines tragedy of the commons as "behavior that makes sense from the individual point of view, that when repeated by enough individuals, ultimately proves disastrous for society and eventually leads to the destruction of the resource" (Gardner & Stern, 1996). Air pollution is destroying our clean air.

    Air pollution comes in many different forms, four of these being sulfurous smog, caused mainly by manufacturing industries, photochemical smog, caused by transport systems and manufacturing industries, carbon monoxide, caused mainly from motor vehicles and also from power plants, and particulate pollution, mainly caused by manufacturing industries also.

    Air pollution can cause problems in the body for the lungs, the heart, and even the nervous system. It can also cause chromosome and birth defects. Air pollution, because of its detrimental effects on the environment, has adverse effects on women. Women are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. In fact, in environmental disaster, women can be more vulnerable than men (Reardon, 1993). This is due to women's consistently low socioeconomic status and to their role in childbearing.

    Poor women live in poor neighborhoods that are more likely to have more hazardous environments. This includes excess air pollution. In addition, because of childbearing, women are more susceptible to ill health. "The biological role of women in reproduction...makes women vulnerable to lower health and nutritional status" (Lorentzen & Turpin, 1996).

    Effects of air pollution on women in childbearing are serious. Air pollution can cause spontaneous abortions, still births, birth defects, genetic defects, infant mortality, and many other tragedies. In addition, it can cause aplastic anemia and even sterilization in some women (Venkateswaran, 1995).

    Some solutions for reducing the air pollution problem include employing incentives and education, using an upstream approach. Examples of this are fining for air pollution violations, charging for air pollution, and electric cars. These possible solutions give people incentives to stop polluting the air, and the electric car eliminates much of air pollution before it can be produced.

    To end environmental degradation's disproportionate effect on women, ecofeminist principles should be implemented.  Ecofeminism is based on the idea that women and nature are connected. Ecofeminists also feel that the domination of the environment by man is linked to the domination of women by man.

    This domination comes from the patriarchal view of society that views women as less than men. Ecofeminists believe that this view also regards nature in that respect.

    There are three different types of ecofeminist approaches. The first approach suggests severing the woman-nature link to integrate women into society. The second aprroach emphasizes holding the woman-nature connection against that of man and the patriarchal view. The third approach suggests using the woman-nature connection to create a free, ecological society, where woman, nature, and man are all equals (Plant, 1989).

    The third approach of ecofeminism seems most appropriate in solving the problem of domination of women and nature. This solution would balance out hierarchies and create a more egalitarian society.

    Because air pollution is becoming more and more of a problem everyday, it needs to be dealt with immediately and effectively. Its effects on women also need to be considered. Our population and our future are at stake in this issue when childbearing becomes hazardous and inefficient. We need to take action to solve this problem and create a better environment and society in the long run.

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Amy Henn: Population Growth and the Tragedy of the Commons 

harvesters.jpg (23846 bytes)    Reproduction was once a crucial element for the survival of human beings. In prehistoric times, reproduction was adaptive and appropriate when food was scarce, disease rates high, and life-expectancy short. However, with the development of agriculture and vast improvements in technology and medicine, humans are living longer, healthier lives. Unfortunately, there is one problem- there are too many people living longer, healthier lives. The world is approaching maximum capacity due to the exponential population growth that has been occuring over the last 50 years. Overpopulation not only threatens the environment but also threatens our very existence. To better understand the severity of this situation, a closer look at the factors contributing to population growth is needed. [photo courtesy of Alwyn Jones, copyright 1997, Facing the
. Used with permission.]

    Population growth is an extremely complex phenomenon. This may be one reason why the stabilization of growth has been difficult to achieve. Individuals need to have a full understanding of the variety of factors contributing to this problem. One explanation for continued population growth is that is results from a Tragedy of the Commons process of its own. Couples are driven to have children. They see little environmental cost or harm in having them. This reinforces the idea that they could not possibly be contributing to the world population problem. It is this logic, repeated over millions of couples, that causes population growth levels that are too high to be sustainable in the long run. Currently, there are 3 billion people (1/2 of the world's population) under the age of 25. It is reasonable to assume that these people will have children of their own in the future. If the Tragedy of the Commons process continues to operate among these individuals, world population could reach 12 billion by the year 2050. Growth of this magnitude will continue to exert severe demands on the environment. Deforestation will increase in frequency as well as the destruction occurring in the atmosphere. Natural resources, both renewable and nonrenewable, will be depleted beyond repair. If the current trends are not slowed or reversed, the human species may be the next candidate for the endangered species list. 

    The Tragedy of the Commons process is not the only influence on populationmoms-burma.jpg (15536 bytes) growth. There are many other factors that contribute to the problem. One such factor, commonly affecting developing nations, is the expectation of women to produce large families. The social structure in these countries encourages women to have many children. For many, this societal norm is the only means of acquiring social status. In addition, the lack of education prevents women from learning of the opportunities available outside of the family. Education is made unavailable for this very reason. All efforts are expected to be concentrated on child-bearing. These factors, as well as inadequate health care and lack of contraceptive use, make it difficult to break the current cycle of exponential population growth. [FAO photo from Facing the
. Used with permission.]

     Many argue that religion also plays a role in encouraging population growth. Of the many institutions that seek to influence population policies, the Roman Catholic Church seems to be the most influential. It is a major opponent of population stabilization and reproductive health services. The Roman Catholic Church has been an effective voice in policy making from discouraging the distribution of condoms to diverting funds from family planning programs. Although the Church has been successful in the political arena, success had been at most modest among its parishioners. Catholic women have fewer children than women of different denominations and regularly use contraceptives to control reproduction, despite opposition from Church leaders. This illustrates the minor influence, if any, that religion has on population growth. In addition, religious leaders are becoming more environmentally aware and are encouraging their members to show concern through proenvironmental behavior. Thus, religion may be beginning to join the movement to stabilize the population.

     Because of the complexity of populaton growth, many people feel powerless and overwhelmed. They may feel that any effort to control further growth on their behalf would be useless. However, there are a variety of ways in which a person can take an active role in stabilizing population growth. These solutions   include:

1) Control your own reproduction

2) Educate yourself and your friends

3) Work with others

4) Support reproductive and other health care programs

5) Become politically involved

    To protect the environment from further destruction and to ensure the survival of our own species, we must realize the severity of the current situation. No one person can change the world. It requires a collective effort from many individuals. It is time to take the necessary steps to prevent the collapse of the human species.


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Ehren Hines: Social & Psychological Aspects of the Exploding World Population

     A good estimate of the world's current population is 5,880,538,105 people. This number grows exponentially, and its continual growth is the root of many problems that the human race faces today. It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be 9,309,051,539 people on the planet. That is almost double today's figure in a little over 50 years. The bottom line here is that the carrying capacity of the world is being exceeded. The options are the human race can take care of this problem, or Mother Nature will deal with it.

    Psychologically, value systems and the level of individual responsibility are assessed. Ecocentric values are concerned about the carrying capacity of the Earth and the Earth itself; homocentric values, believe in world peace, equality, and social justice. The homocentric view is commonly shared by Developed countries of the world, whom have benefited for hundreds of years from a homocentric value system. Developed countries are not nearly as responsible for the actual numbers of population as Developing countries are, but they have had a lot to do with many environmental problems and resource depletion. A baby born in the United States represents 35 times the destructive impact on the Earth's ecosystems and the services they provide as one born in India. It is imperative that everyone of the world except responsibility for the overpopulation problem.

    There are no easy solutions to this problem. However people can be categorized into three groups on this overpopulation. Those who will sacrifice all personal pleasure to save the world; those who deny the statistics; and those who know the state of the world, but do not care enough. Shouldn't doing "what is right" be all the incentive a person needs to do their part in fixing this problem? That still may not be the case, you still have to deal with human nature. Howard (1993) pointed out that, "human nature impels us to deny our own impending destruction and to seek out individual and personal happiness."

   Education should teach: the facts of overpopulation and all the problems that spring from it, why the human race cannot survive on its current path, and what specific changes people can make to do their part in saving the human race. Developed countries need to know and understand that their lifestyles are detrimental to the survival of the human race. Developing countries need to learn how to deal with their high birth rates. "Reducing fertility rates is not simply a matter of providing more contraceptives, but that family planning has to be part of broader reproductive heath services for women"(Brown, 1995). Every country needs to establish a carefully thought out policy on population. It is not a campaign to save the Earth, but it is a campaign to save the human race.


    Brown, Lester, R. (1995). Reassessing the Earth's Population. Society, 4(216), 7-10.

    Howard, G.S. (1993). On certain blindnesses in human beings: psychology and world over population. World Population, 21(4), 560-581.

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Shannon Ingalls: Ecotourism -- What is it and What are its Effects????

     Ecotourism has been defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well being of local people. This is a concept that has blossomed into one of the fastest growing phenomena in the travel business, with gains of about 20 to 30 % a year. In 1996, ecotourism grossed over 335 billion dollars worldwide. A profile of ecotourists compiled by Conservation International shows that they have a median age of 50, they tend to be professional people in their prime earning years, and they include equal numbers of men and women.

    Environmentalists recognize that some of the few untouched places left on the planet- rainforests, mountains, exotic islands- are obvious targets for new tourist development, and that many of these places are in Third World countries, where revenue from almost any kind of development is likely to be welcomed.

Two areas that are particularly targeted are the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica. Both have been internationally acclaimed for their sound conservation and tourism strategies. Both have been blessed by their relative inaccessability, careful monitoring by scientists, well-trained guides, and concerned local communities. Over the last decade, however, as a tourist explosion has brought world attention and new funds to both the Galapagos and Monteverde, they have been viewed as models- they also may be warning lights signaling danger from tourism that expands too rapidly, without sufficient planning or government and community control,

    The danger is not only that tourism will happen in these places that are perfect for development. There is the additional danger that these areas will be developed by other so called nonsustainable industries such as logging or mining. To meet those threats, environmentalists and concerned members of the tourism industry have addressed the problem of ensuring that ecotourism can become a valid economic alternative for developers, tour organizers, and other participants.

    Promoters of alternative tourism point to its contribution to economic growth, such as providing developing nations with badly needed foreign captial and infrastructure. A survey by World Wildlife Fund's Elizabeth Boo indicates that nature travelers spend more than recreational travelers. Also ecotourism can raise the environmental consciousness of participants and protect what Barbara Johnson calls "wilderness, wildlife, and wild people" from destructive development.

    There are many problems that worry conservationists. One is the growing number of nature tourists will dmage the very environments they seek to appreciate, as they already have in the mountains of Nepal and on the reefs of the Caribbean. In the Galapagos Islands, the number of wildlife enthusiasts arriving in cruise ships exceeded by 100% the governments limit. The effect has been profound. According to Gregory Miller, The Nature Conservancy's regional director for South America, "the Galapagos Islands are now seeing greater incidences of tramped vegetation and animal behavior modification, altered volcanic features, and land and waterborne pollution."

    Another problem facing the ecotourism industry is the ethics of some nature tour operators. "Nature tourism cannot be called ecotourism unless it advances conservation," says Elizabeth Boo. Yet some operators who advertise themselves as ecotourists do little to preserve fragile environments or to respect native cultures. There is a need within the industry for concrete standards by which consumers can judge the quality of tour operators. Of 34 ecotours contacted, 27 said they do not give environmental concerns a high prioriy. For example, in the Galapagos Islands, all the boats dump sewage right into the ocean.

    On the economic front, the potential of ecotourism is enormous but the     economic reality of nature travel is falling short of its potential. Of the revenues reaped by general travel in developing countries, over half is "leaked" back into developed countries. Ecotourism is an unstable and unreliable source of income, dependent on outside factors such as fluctuations in the world economy and the price of oil. Moreover, the pressure of debt and the need for short-term revenue may override environmental objectives.

    One of the main problems I discussed was the ethics of certain nature operators. A way to get rid of these operators is tp promote and encourage others to blow the whistle on those operators who violate certain guidelines. Not every crooked operator is going to be caught, therefore many ecotourists must be educated on how to choose a "true" ecotour who follows al the guidelines. The ecotourists need to ask ecotour agencies many questions concerning their nature operator such as: are local people employed as guides, does the tour operator donate money to help the local environment, doe sthe group stay in locally owned lodges, how is trash disposed of and are travelers encouraged to contribute to local conservation efforts.

    I am also going to relate ecotourism to incentives. There are many incentives that promote ecotourism over traditional tourism. this is supported by the fact that 85% of travelers in a 1991 study claimed they were willing to pay more to travel companies that preserve the environment. One example of an incentive that promotes ecotourism is the opportunity people have to see native plants and animals. Most countries allow only ecotourists guided by a licensed ecotour to see these certain fragile ecosystems. Since this is such a great opportunity, most people will engage in ecotourism for the sole reason of interacting with the natural environment. This can be harmful because many people engage in ecotourism just so they can be involved with native biodiversity which proves that not everyone engaging in ecotourism is genuinely concerned with preserving the environment.

    Lastly, I am going to relate ecotourism to the Tragedy of The Commons. If enough people engage in a specific activity (even if it is ecotourism), their activities are still going to have severe consequences. People tend to think they present no danger if they are part of an ecotourist group guided by an ecotour. Actually, these people (without knowing) may be the biggest threat to fragile and vulnerable ecosystems. Since ecotourism has growm so much in the past decade, more people are engaging in it. This results in the destruction of certain native animals and plants. Many people need to realize that the activities they are involved in currently may cause harmful effects in the future. This is hard for people to grasp and therefore ignored the majority of the time. The only the environment is going to be preserved for the future is if people begin to realize the dangers their activities present- even if they are involved in ecotourism. People also need to realize that their presence in a place is going to have an impact, both environmental and cultural. They then need to ensure the impact is going to be positive.

    Although ecotourism helps economic conditions of certain countries, it also has devastating consequences which have more of an impact on the environment. People need to try and prevent these consequences before the environment is completely destroyed.

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Cory King: Military Impact in Land Conservation

    The United States Air Force has plans to acquire land in the southwestern region of Idaho, and eastern Oregon, for the purpose of building a bombing range for the neighboring Air Base in Mountain Home, Idaho. The community of the district, in which the area is, Owyhee County, is strongly opposed to the development of the range, for reasons stemming from the significance of the land to the area and its heritage. The military and the Governor of the state of Idaho, view this proposal as a way to save the Air Base from closing down. This has been in debate for several years, starting back in 1988, when the first proposal was instituted. These proposals have met with much opposition from not only those who live in the area, but from a wide variety of environmental groups. The proposal by the Air Force has met with very strict regulations and has been reissued several times for lack of planning, lack of seeking alternate solutions, and lack of congressional approval. All of these factors have played a major role in the halting of these attempts to strip the area of its land, but also the contributions of the residents of the county have also played a key role. They have written letters and sought the support of political figures in the fight to save the land. The issue is back on the table, and once again the fight continues.

    In the paper, I have looked at the policies that held by the U.S. Military and the Air Force concerning the environment and land conservation as well. The policies that they institute carry with them very homocentric ideals and values, suggesting that the military has the right to use this land for its advancements. They have implemented various ways of looking into land acquisition, ranging from computer models of before and after images, representing the overall impact that the area experience; to getting in touch with the community within the area proposed and seeking their advice in finding an appropriate place and time for the land acquisition. The military has implemented various programs such as Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health Initiatives, that strive to continue the use of land, but at a more cost-effective rate, and with more acknowledgements of the environment and the resources within it. This approach, seeks to fulfill the needs of the military more than it does the needs within the environment and the community within, whether they be human or not.

    I also looked at the environmentalists and the policies that they have put forth in the area of land acquisition. The Sierra Club has written out a document that presents a list of guidelines that must be met with regards to the land and its use. They offer solutions that try to accommodate the interest groups as well as the institutions seeking to expand. They suggest four guidelines, highlighted by one that suggests that for all land taken away, some land should be given back in the same environment. This is a very important idea, because, as stated before it satisfies everyone. The community is satisfied about not losing land, and the military is satisfied that it can continue its progress.

    I also looked at the aspect of community management in the area of land conservation and found some very strong support for its success with regard to this topic. The land is clearly defined, public, and has clear boundaries. The community surrounding the area is very much involved in the protection of the land and the continuation of the ecological diversity within the environment. They are exhibiting a very strong value system, one that is ecocentric, and seeks to protect that land. The success rate in the past of community management has also been very high with respects to land management. The community's high value on the land, coupled with its ecocentric values, have defeated the proposal in the past as well as bringing strong support from outside the area into the issue. The community management within the military was also discussed and seen from a different point of view. The military's view of community management is one of seeking out the community and bringing it closer to the government in the decision making process.

A Useful Weblink:

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Mary Krebsbach: China's One Child Policy and Its Implications

   At the same time as China was attempting to quickly modernize during in the 1950's to the 1970's it was also creating a variety of environmental problems. Forty years later its government and people are left to deal with the consequences. Additionally, an already numerous population began to grow drastically during the 1960's and 1970's. In 1947  China's population was 500 million, while in 1970 it had grown to roughly 1 billion (Rosenberg & Jing, 1996). With such a large and growing population China has the potential to greatly impact the environmental state of the earth. Presently there are 1.2 billion people living in China, which account for roughly 25 percent of the world's population (Shaoxiang, 1995; Rosenberg & Jing, 1996). Population alone may not be enough to have such an impact on the earth, but in China this is coupled with rapid and intensive industrialization. Similar to the effects in other industrialized countries China's industrialism resulted in a great deal of pollution.

     As a means of curbing the alarming population growth in the 1960's and 1970's the Chinese government decided to implement a controversial birth control policy. Afraid that they would be producing more people than their nation could support they mandated that only one child be born per family. This regulation began in January of 1979 and was appropriately termed the One Child Policy. China's One Child Policy has had three major impacts on society. The first is the concern that this new generation of only children will grow up spoiled and self-centered. Earlier studies were wholly in support of the little emperor syndrome, but some later studies have found contrary results, in fact even positive effects of only child families. The second is the drastic differences between rural and urban adherence to the policy. People living in the rural areas of China make up nearly 75 percent of the population (Rosenberg & Jing, 1996) so their compliance or non-compliance, as the case may be, is very influential. Interestingly, research has shown that both enforcement and adherence to the One Child Policy is lower in rural areas than in the urban areas. The third major impact of the One Child Policy on society is the huge problem of female infanticide. Males are of great importance to the Chinese culture and tradition. As a result, many couples have ended up resorting to abortion and killing of female infants in order to produce one male heir. Each of these three societal impacts has the potential to further influence the environment. Due to the fact that they have been doted on and catered to by their family what they expect from others may differ from the expectations of a child with siblings. They may end up being egocentric (or self-centered) and thus care little for the state of the environment. The second concern has to do with rural verse urban adherence to the One Child Policy. Rural areas are both less regulated and have a much lower compliance rate than that of urban couples. Thus they are producing more children whose values and compliance with the policy will most likely match that of their parents. In other words, they will also need multiple children for the same reasons as their parents did. Finally, there is the growing problem of female infanticide which has many serious problems and implications in and of itself. Interestingly, it may seem as though this may actually have the opposite effect on the environment. The number of children born may actually decrease somewhat because there are fewer women to give birth. As a result these fewer children will produce that much less of an effect on the environment.

    The One Child Policy was an attempt by the Chinese government to curtail the large strain on their resources they were certain to experience in the coming years. The inconsistencies in enforcement have resulted in a higher population growth than the Chinese government predicted. As we have seen, these same inconsistencies may in fact lead to further environmental degradation. Chinese officials need to consider the tremendous impact that its rural population could potentially have on society and the environment. Whatever the outcome it is certain that the One Child policy will have significant effects on Chinese society, its citizens and its environment.

Works Cited

    Li, J. (1995). China's One Child Policy: How and How Well Has It Worked? A Case Study of Hebei Province, 1979-88. Population and Development Review,
, 563-584.   

    Rosenberg, B.G . & Jing, Q. (1996, Fall). A Revolution in Family Life: The Political and Social Structural Impact of China's One Child Policy. Journal of Social Issues, 52, 51-68.

    Shaoxiang, N. (1995, Spring). China: A Sleeping Giant Awakes to Environment. Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, 10, 132-135.

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Mike Kurka:  Modifying Consumption Patterns and Sustainable Growth

    As the world's population continues to expand, additional strain is being placed on Earth's energy resources. Current energy consumption patterns have had adverse impacts on the environment it is necessary not only to change consumption patterns, but to develop and use alternative energy sources. By changing current attitudes, consumption patterns of fuel sources, and usage of environmentally damaging fossil fuels. Our population can achieve substantial growth, aggressive education and marketing strategies can be used to help implement a solution which will allow humankind and the environment to have a feasible existence.

    There are a variety of alternative energy sources currently available. Sources such as hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass, refuse based and nuclear power to an extent are much more environment friendly than coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The United States has 5% of the world's population, but accounts for over 20% of the world's primary energy. In order to fulfill our responsibility, the U.S. is obligated to develop these technologies and compel other countries to follow suit.

    When examining energy resource usage, it is important to note the costs and benefits of each source. Current consumption patterns are reinforced by the fact that fossil fuels have been widely used for centuries. Therefore, distribution systems, resource extraction and resource allocation have been in place for years. The renewable energy industries are still in their infancy and have yet to be fully accessed. The upside to this is that as burgeoning industries, there is a potential for job creation. Although the technology is expensive, energy sources are inexpensive, even free. The fossil fuels have contributed mightily to the greenhouse gas problems we currently face. Renewable fuel sources contribute far less to environmental delay. Nuclear power generates a substantial amount of power with minimal contribution to the greenhouse effect, but other side effects of nuclear power have come under fire for their adverse impact.

    In order to begin to change consumption patterns, it is imperative that our society understands the value and necessity of energy efficiency. Additionally, we need to make better usage of current alternative energy sources. If usage of fossil fuels is discouraged by limiting government subsidies, tax breaks, and research funding, this money can be shifted towards developing new energy technologies. Development of these other areas has many advantages aside from alleviating some environmental stressers.

    If renewable energy technologies are mastered, sustainable growth can be encouraged. New energy sources can provide electricity to people who do not currently have it. It is easy to see the financial and economic advantages to this situation. By staying on the cutting edge, it will be possible to market both energy and technology to other countries. Additionally, this will help establish the U.S. as the forerunner for providing energy and for setting an example of efficiency to other nations. The U.S. is a powerful and influential country, and this can be used to further environmental causes.

    By applying frameworks of influence, it may be possible to change attitudes towards a more ecological approach. By selling people on the need for behavioral change towards the environment, need satisfaction will occur. Stressing financial and economic benefits is a successful means of initiating change. By using a multifaceted approach combining psychological, financial, economic and environmental principles, it will be possible to support substantial growth as Earth nears the 21st century.

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Jeff Lewis: The Electronic Face of Environmental groups 

    The World Wide Web, as an emerging technology and broadcast medium, has been a relatively new craze both in the United States and abroad. This new medium allows individuals, groups, companies, and governments to distribute many types of information to vast numbers of people. This ability to distribute text, pictures, video, spoken word and more through a single source makes this technology so powerful. The source through which everything is broadcasted is a web page. Using a new programming language called hyper-text markup language( HTML), along with other new programming languages such as JAVA, different media are brought together and displayed on a computer screen. The software that displays the web page is called a browser and, through competition, can be found free of charge. Since most computers sold today come with all the necessary components to access the World Wide Web, it is becoming easier for any and every computer owner to access this new wealth of information.

    Many organizations are beginning to use this new medium to get their cause broadcasted to the world. Taking notice are many environmental groups. They are finding that their previously hard to reach multinational span of members can now easily and quickly be reached, coordinated, and placed into action with the help of the World Wide Web. With the price of a new computer it is clear to see that buyers are of the economic middle class and higher and this is the traditional target of, and logical contributor to, environmental groups. In the following, I plan to examine two groups and how they use the World Wide Web to broadcast their message and gain supporters and how they, knowingly or not, use psychological principles to accomplish this.

    The contents of the Greenpeace web site range from current news items to contacting the organization and financial support. Upon first arriving at the web site, the greenpeace name appears along with multiple drop down menus that provide links to all aspects of the site in an easy to read and visually appealing manner. Below that are the two of the latest issues that the organization is combating. At the bottom of the page are more issues that are important campaigns for the group with links to detailed information including the problem, any findings that Greenpeace has uncovered, and the direction that and remedies that Greenpeace believes should be taken. Greenpeace is very fortunate in that the countries in which it has offices and support are the same ones in which the World Wide Web is also taking hold. On the Greenpeace web site, they list twenty five countries that have national offices and of those, eighteen have web sites. This close correlation shows that not only is this new technology taking hold, but is seen as an asset and viable means to connect with it's members. In using this technology Greenpeace shows the many ways this organization displays that is a good place to put your money and that it is making tremendous strides for the environment. There are five ways that Greenpeace portrays it's presence and power within their web site. Of these five, two were gave great insight into how this is done. First, there is a section on their web site that describes the ships that greenpeace owns and some of their recent voyages. This gives the member a chance to see his money in action and also provides a possibility for the member to get involved if the campaign is in or around is his home. Contact can be done through traditional means, telephone, mail, or group meeting, or via email contact which is found within the web site. Second, for the prospective member or person at large, this page clearly shows the power of this group. This group clearly is more than a haphazard group of people who get together over dinner and chat about issues facing the environment. This is a world wide force to be reckoned with. Second, this organization hires consultants, operates laboratories and has in it's ranks, qualified and highly educated personnel. These sources make their arguments sound not only accurate, but scientifically based and backed. The use of authority is clearly beneficial to their cause, whether accurate or not, and further shows that they have the money and resources to tackle any environmental problem (Cialdini, 1984). Many of these issues are presented one-sided and in such a manner that the reader thinks these problems are short term and as such need immediate attention, money and support.

    On the other end of the environmental spectrum is a group called EarthFirst! The web site of this group is small in comparison to the one held by greenpeace, but it is effective all the same. When first seeing this web site, a whole new view is portrayed. The opening page is not elegant, nor does it have the bells and whistles of the new technologies. Instead, it has a one sentence mission statement, a picture gallery, an archive of articles and finally a list of relevant links to other information. The main beliefs of this group are clearly spelled out in an approximately two page description of their beliefs, goals and means of action. In this one document they recruit, explain their actions, and make claims as to why their group is apart from the rest. Although short, this section is not meant to be full of fluff and nonsense. This group is straightforward in spelling out their beliefs and how it goes about this. The shortness of this page is a direct parallel to the movement's overall mission. One of the many ways that this group influences outsiders is the use of the foot-in-the-door technique. Through clever writing this radical group presents itself in a very mainstream manner that relaxes the reader and redefines the group's image. The photo gallery is an effective means by which they can increase commitment in new or prospective members and provide social proof that others are taking action against in a case where the environment needs assistance (Cialdini, 1984). This issue, forest destruction, is very effective since it is well publicized and widely known by the general public. This continual tie to the everyday person again diminishes the radical representation that this group carries. Overall, I think this web site was created with one goal, to reduce the negative stigma that surrounds them. Within this they recruit others, aire their beliefs and further their cause.

    Both sites present themselves in a productive, efficient, and positive way. They each promote their cause and belief structure in order to improve their image in the general public. Since no environmental group is fully accepted by every sector of society, they all need to work on public relations. There is no better way to do this than through a web page that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The information does not need to be first asked for and then sent to an interested party, they may just retrieve it from the web page. This quick delivery of multiple types of information is the new and cost effective means to get the message across, not to mention an environmentally friendly reduction in paper, ink, stamps, adhesive, staples, and other materials.

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Marianna Panova: Why Do We Say "Mother Nature"? Ecofeminist perspective on the roots of Modern environmental problems

      One of the firsts to recognize the relationship between violation of women's rights and environmental problems was Rosemary Radford Ruether. In her work "New Woman/New Earth" in 1975, she declared the necessity for women to recognize that unless society would step aside from the behavioral model of domination, there could be neither any liberation for women, or enhancement of environmental protection. She called for united effort of environmental and women's rights movements that would serve the purpose of "a radical reshaping of the basic souci-economic relations and the underlying values of this [modern industrial] society". The term "ecofeminism" introduced by Francoise d'Eaubonne in 1974, comes from the combination of "ecology" and "feminism," reflecting a joint perspective on human domination of nature and men's domination over women.

     In its attempt to build a conceptual framework alternative to the current oppressive patriarchal setting, ecofeminism provides an alternative interpretation of the history of human civilization, especially Western culture. In doing so ecofeminist scholars seek for the roots of dualism, a widely practiced philosophical approach, as well as possibilities for alternative value systems that would allow for liberation of women and the environment. One of the widely accepted ecofeminism standpoints on the human history is described by Rosemary Radford Ruether in her book "Women Healing Earth." According to the ecofeminist interpretation humans of the hunter-gathering stages lived in "egalitarian classes societies." The main behavioral model was the one of cooperation, because only through mutual support could the human societies survive. In the sixth through third millennia BCE nomadic tribes extended their conquests to the West. These tribes imposed patriarchal social structure with a value system dominated by the ideas of war, aggression, and competition. Thus the early egalitarian society turned into one of "militarized domination".

     These conquests not only changed the social structure of Western society, but also caused a shift in religious preferences. In the egalitarian system women were seen as life-givers, the nurturers, the primary food gatherers and the inventors of agriculture. Due to these early social roles of women, humans created the female Goddess, the first personification of the Mystery. Indian, Assyrian and Babylonian mythology provides us with examples of worshiping a sacred Mother. Mediterranean civilizations continued these beliefs as can be found in Greek and Jewish folklore. The Nomadic tribes brought a different concept of the divine. Their God was male, both a warrior and ruler over the forces of nature. Establishment of a new set of religious beliefs soon became a powerful tool in exposing a patriarchal system. It is useful to note that this story of the human history is best to be seen as a myth rooted in the ancient times. Ruether calls it: a simplified and selective reflection (like any myth) of a complex process - a process by which humans shaped patriarchal social and religious-ideological hierarchies and gradually suppressed earlier egalitarian societies, which were more interdependent with their bioregional environments.

   Many ecofeminists come to a conclusion that in order to solve present environmental problems Western society should turn to its egalitarian roots and rediscover the concept of Goddess. However, it is important to point out that such ""psycho-spiritual" reconnection with women's bodies and natural cycles cannot be the only purpose of ecofeminism. It is also true, that ecofeminism is not a simple combination of ecology and feminism. As stated in one of the ecofeminist web sites, Eve On Line: the kaleidoscopic lens of ecofeminism includes a prepatriarchal historical analysis, an embracement of spirituality, and a commitment to challenging racism, classism, imperialism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, anthropocentrism, speciesism and other forms of oppression.

    This paper is not intended for discussion of all the above stated issues. The goals of the essay are to analyze the roots of humans overexploitation of the environment due to the stereotype that women are closer to nature than man.

    One of the possible solutions for the environmental problems is changing the perception of the environment as an all-giving and ever-loving mother. In order for the incentives for the environmental protection to work, modern society has to come to a new understanding of the nature. The new definition must be developed that would include the ideas of humans being a part of nature. In other words "we must remember the chemical connection between ourselves and the stars". It is necessary to understand that there is no dichotomy between the women being closer to nature and women being fully cultural beings. Catherine Roach in her article "Loving Your Mother: On the Woman-Nature Relation" points out that no one can be closer or further away from nature, human beings are made of the same atoms as any other element of the biosphere or universe in general (1996). Humans are interconnected with every other matter of nature.

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Denise Sobieski: Poverty and the Environment 

    Imagine yourself poor and hungry--living in no more than a shanty with a mat on the floor for your bed. You wander the village streets daily, looking for food and fuel to cook whatever you may find. Your stomach rumbles and you grow dizzy with each step. Dazzling streams and forests surround you. The sun illuminates the umbrella of leaves above, but you cannot focus on the beauty. You seek to survive. Living for today, often short-sighted, the forests and land become resources to continue your existence, not a treasure to protect for the future. What does a hole in the ozone layer mean to you when all you can think about is the hole in your stomach and your children's stomachs? A large corporation comes to offer you money to cut down the trees that surround you and to mine the rocks and minerals below the soil. They promise advances--better homes and schools. The pay is low, but it means food and so-called progress. You willingly accept, only to find years later, you may have made progress in technology, but along with the development comes a new set of problems. The pristine environment no longer exists; pollution abounds and the land is destroyed.

    This is the plight of many poor nations struggling to develop into wealthy, productive areas. All around the globe, third world countries are facing the same dilemma: remain surrounded by natural beauty and a healthy environment, but poor, or develop in order to find wealth, but risk pollution and destruction of the environment in the process. Most poor nations would willingly tolerate some pollution to eliminate the poverty that prevails, yet rich nations have shunned their progress, despising the destruction of the rainforests and wildlife. The choice comes down to lifting people out of poverty or preserving the environment. Some feel that through sustainable development a compromise can be reached so that both goals can be obtained.

    Sustainable development involves meeting the needs of the present without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Recognizing that the goal of poor nations in using their natural resources to develop is to escape the poverty trap, the only way to save the environment is to help people overcome the pitfalls of poverty such as homelessness, lack of education, lack of health care, and overpopulation so there is no need to degrade the environment.

    There have been many proposals concerning the best way to encourage sustainable development, including increased education, availability of business assets, and encouragement of religious values, just to name a few. However, the most important aspect of sustainable development is remembering that while the development and environmental destruction may be occurring in the third world, the issues at hand are not confined to the poor nations. Balancing development and pollution with environmental protection affects everyone globally--both rich and poor. We are in this together and the only way to achieve sustainability will be to work together at a global level.


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John Ward: Environmental Racism

     There are many instances of inequity in current American society. Many groups of people are treated in different ways (some are beneficial and some are not) depending upon the various characteristics of the group. Unfortunately minority groups and the poor in American society often face some of the worst hardships. In years past these groups had to deal with civil rights discrimination and other types of racism. While many groups are still dealing with these old problems, new forms of discrimination have come to light. Environmental racism is one such form of discrimination facing minority groups today. Environmental racism adversely affects the quality of life of millions of Americans per year, but the situation has yet to be brought under control. This analysis will discuss four major areas on the topic of environmental racism. The first section will be devoted to defining environmental racism, including problems with its definition and examples of the phenomena. The second section will examine the materials involved in the process, the victims, and the perpetrators. The third section will be concerned with the various laws that apply to waste management and human equality and discuss the manner in which these laws apply to environmental racism. Finally there will be a discussion of solutions—possible remedies for the situation.

    A succinct definition of racism is "racial prejudice plus power". When applied to environmental concerns, prejudice plus the exploitation of a minority, or overt discrimination based on race in an environmental context, is environmental racism. This definition carries a requirement of discriminatory intent (Kriesel et. al., 1996). Robert Bullard, a prominent urban sociologist, defines environmental racism as "any environmental policy, practice, or directive that, intentionally or unintentionally, differentially impacts or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on race or color; as well as the exclusionary and restrictive practices that limit the participation by people of color in decision making boards, commissions, and staffs" (Brown, 1993). Bullard describes aversive racism, which includes unconscious actions with an evident impact on racial groups. Aversive racism is the greater exposure to environmental risk when it is correlated with higher populations of racial minorities (Kriesel et. al, 1996). Empirical studies have shown that minorities face significant discrimination in the siting of noxious facilities and disproportionate exposure to various environmental risks (Kriesel, et. al., 1996). The presence of uncontrolled toxic waste sites in American communities is more prevalent than may be expected; fifty percent of all Americans live in communities with uncontrolled sites. Minority communities, however, are affected to a greater degree: three of every five African Americans and Hispanics live in communities with uncontrolled toxic waste sites. The average minority population is four times greater in areas with UTW sites, than in communities without such facilities. Thus, African Americans in particular are strikingly over-represented in the populations of metropolitan areas with the largest number of uncontrolled toxic waste sites (Godsil, 1991).

     The planners are the social agent that should be working for the right of the minority group to live in a clean/non-hazardous community. However, they are often a large part of the problem. The planner must be educated in not only politics and business administration, but also environmental and diversity awareness. Anyone who works with land, air, or water issues must discuss and develop the principles involved in their decision making processes. The public needs disclosure and accountability of the decisions being made which affect the community. The skill of analysis equity, which includes consideration of growth, equity, ecology, justice, and community rights, should be developed as an expertise. Those who will conceive develop and implement future environmental decisions will face conflict and ambiguity. If they are prepared to solve environmental problems in an enduring way, they must work hand in hand with the community.

     Although it is not difficult to list those corporations and institutions outside of the government that are committing acts of environmental racism, the list would be too long to include here. What is important to recognize here is which institutions and why these institutions commit environmental racism. The institutions involved in environmental racism are those that produce any hazardous waste. Not all of these institutions have a malicious intent, but they all have the need to turn high profits. Although action to produce profits that are illegal are not employed, those actions which are deemed unethical may still be committed. As described before it is often hard to prove that corporations dump waste in the communities that they do on the basis of the race of the community, although the actions are detrimental. However, we do know that money and politics play an important role, and those involved in waste management find it politically expedient to site hazardous waste in minority communities. Similarly these communities tend to be more likely to accept compensation made in exchange for having hazardous waste placed in their community. Money and profits may be the only motivation for subjecting communities to environmental hazards (Cole, 1991).

    Both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act require evidence that disproportionate exposure is due to intentional discrimination. However, the regulations by federal agencies that codify a discriminatory effect of aversive racism may be illegal. The EPA has a regulation that prohibits actions that would have an effect of subjecting minorities to discrimination without adequate justification, but under various Civil Rights Act agency regulations, an action having a discriminatory effect upon a minority may be in violation of federal law (Kriesel, 1996). The late 1960's and early 1970's saw the enactment at the federal level of major elements of environmental management. Especially notable were the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act 1969, the Clean Air Act Amendments in 1970, the Water Pollution Act Amendments in 1972, the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1973, and the Endanger Endangered Species Act in 1973. In addition to be given significant implementations responsibilities under these federal laws states enacted many of their own environmental laws. For example Pennsylvania's Constitution states that "the people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values in the environment." Although such environmental rights have been established at broad national and state levels, exposure to environmental risks vary dramatically by race and class (Collin et al., 1995).

     The Principles for Environmental Justice adopted at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, lay the foundation for the Environmental Equity Assessment (EEA). These principles are based upon the assumption that humans have a right to a healthy environment, defined as being free from illness and disease spawned from environmental degradation. The purpose of the EEA is to similar to other programs in that it is designed "to consider all relevant ecological…aesthetic, historic, cultural, economic, social or health effects" of environmental hazards. The EEA constitutes a methodology that permits the orderly analysis of relationships that exist between society, resources, and technology, beyond the single project strategies of current assessment processes (Laituri & Kirby, 1994).

     Individual state governments have set up hazardous waste management programs to overcome local hostility and to bypass local opposition. Four general methods are usually employed by the states, super review, sited designation, local control, and incentives.

     This analysis set out to explore and examine the way in which environmental racism effects various members of the United States population. After discussing the social and legal implications of environmental racism certain possible solutions were discussed. These solutions in themselves cannot solve all of the issues of environmental racism, but combined together and with an informed and educated society, there is no reason why this problem should persist.

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Psy 412 Miami University. Last revised: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 17:06:33. This document has been accessed 1 times since July 15, 1997. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman . Also See: Social Psychology at Miami University