There's a lot of criticism in the literature. The statistics rarely live up to the theory at face value. (https://steadystate.org/wp-content/uploads/Stern_KuznetsCurv...). And often, new pollutants emerge in rich countries as others decline.
For example, in the USA, water pollutants targeted by the Clean Water Act (1972) have declined, but new pollutants have emerged which aren't measured or managed by the policy. Recent years have seen an explosion in estrogen hormones that turn male fish to hermaphrodites that lay eggs, coming from unchecked fertilizer runoff and birth control sewage. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/02/160203-femin...
Wow that's the vast majority, sounds like it could be a serious issue. What's interesting is how it's been found near cities and Agriculture but also in remote areas.
I'm curious how much of a role the waste treatment centers have played which was noted as a potential source.
Since water can travel long distances via rivers and rain its going to be hard to pinpoint who or what is to blame. Hopefully they keep digging into that question.
I also now understand what Alex Jones meant by "gay fish" in one of his popular rants he was mocked for.
There are generally two main sources. 1. agricultural runoff related to fertilizers. 2. Urban sewage, because birth control products get flushed down toilets and the wastewater treatment plants don't even try to filter for hormones (it's not part of the Clean Water Act). And even if they tried, the methods to do so are nascent (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/19/4153363...).
> I also now understand what Alex Jones meant by "gay fish" in one of his popular rants he was mocked for.
Yes, he got unfair criticism for calling attention to this -- it is actually a huge environmental problem that needs more public awareness. The ecological impacts are huge, and yes because the water treatment plants don't filter, you might be drinking similar concentrations through tap water. (edit: to be clear, the concentrations that harm fish are nowhere near enough to cause the same level of harm in humans, so no you will not turn gay from drinking tap water)
He's still a nutcase con man though, IMO. Mixing in a few grains of truth makes the poisonous ideas go down smoother.
Alex Jones knows exactly what he's doing with his character. Anyway yeah the lack of treatment options sounds like a big roadblock.
It seems people can find any fertilizer that doesn't harm the environment somehow either, whatever is being used has already had to jump through a hundred hoops first :/
How about Thailand or Malaysia (as an example)? They are both fairly developed and hoping to avoid middle income trap and become developed countries within few years. In both countries disregard for enviroment and citizens health is just sad. Toxic haze, toxic water, pollution, trash.
When is the moment that a country decides that it is rich enough and it is time to clean its act?
That was trash that was illegally dumped there by UK, Australia, and other Western countries, right after China stopped accepting Western trash. https://asklegal.my/p/waste-dumping-malaysia-canada-pollutio...
You use a strong sentence "disregard for environment". What facts lead you say that? Wouldn't the behavior of the Western countries shipping trash over to poorer countries indicate a much stronger disregard for the environment? Or are you implying the environment/nature can be split into one that is local to Western countries and another that is present in developing/poorer countries?
You don't. You account for those externalities all the way (until they become small enough so that further breakdown does not matter).
>When is the moment that a country decides that it is rich enough and it is time to clean its act?
If by cleaning you mean "moving it somewhere else" then it doesn't matter.
They did it by expanding markets constantly, invading third world countries to "liberate" their labor forces, synthesizing want via advertising, and many other means.
Now that we are in a globalized economy, we are running out of new markets and cash is just sloshing around. The capitalist class has slashed away as best they can at the welfare state, reducing the possibility of radical redistribution that could right the ship. Maybe now Marx's prediction will have a chance to come true.
A different example: Australia could have a tech industry that didn't pollute (assuming the power weren't coming from brown coal :-( ). But all the hardware designed in AUS could be built in a highly polluting way in China. That would be essentially exporting the pollution.
I don't know the fix, just pointing out the topic at hand. Australia's record on pollution is horrific, especially when you consider how little of our continent is actually habitable.
Then when the extreme growth part passes it starts to stabilize: this is when the country & the people start doing well enough so that they can look at other issues (environmental impact) without having to sacrifice their livelihoods.
The human will always prioritize his own and his families livelihood. Only once that is stable can one afford to look at the impact.
If you're poor and can hardly afford basic stuff for your children you obviously won't care about the environment, it's last thing on your mind.
And if anyone writes "yeah but even poor people should care": no, that is not how human nature works. First you & your family, only then everything else.
If I were in a developing country, I would be worried that climate accords become a other way for those on top to stay there.
I suppose you were just providing a random example, but if you're curious the production of free-range eggs almost certainly pollutes more carbon than caged eggs  while being less ethically sound (assuming that was the consideration for cage-free), environmentally responsible, and typically more expensive than plant alternatives.
Also, the report you cited was the (conventional) egg industry researching itself, not an independent study.
And this isn't in some hypothetical future. It's already happening.
Please add should, this should not be how human nature works.
Also, one capitalist cannot on the one hand free will is the key for prosperity, and at he same time ask others to think beyond others’ basic life needs while suffering.
Intuitively this makes great sense: when you're eking out a subsistence living you're not going to care about the environment, but when resources are plenty you can afford to consider other living things too.
The greatest polluter is everybody living in large single family homes full of things manufactured on other continents, with AC, multiple cars, eating red meat every day.
Almost certainly what would happen is manufacturers would build more robust things and there would be more "ships of theseus" where you're running a 30-year old cabinet but with modern materials and components. People would generally have to be more technical and develop more one-off solutions.
The $X money you saved on non-disposable goods would instead be $Y spent on consumable goods (e.g. some wine or steak - both near 100% "pollution") or $Z spend on services (e.g. travel - near 100% pollution too) or other permanent goods $U (an expensive jacket that could last 300 years except it got thrown out because it looks ugly and smells of Uncle Jack).
If you want to save the world, you need to directly do something that saves it e.g. protect some native forest, or buy some farm land and let it revert to wilderness.
Anything else where you are participating in the economy is virtually guaranteed to have a high degree of waste (buy some eco-friendly meat, but 50% is retail markup, and the the hippy producer uses the money on a "wasteful" overseas holiday).
Very few people calculate the total ecological footprint of their actions: e.g. buying an electric car can easily be far worse for the planet (depending on cost, location, usage, and other factors).
Asking people to do something for the greater good won't lead you anywhere. People are driven by greed that capitalism wisely directs into something productive. This powerful stream of greed won't disappear anywhere, but it's possible to redirect it somewhere else.
Cite please, or is this just your opinion?
> rich countries have figured out how to grow with lighter environmental impacts—and developing nations can follow suit
Of course, the planet is based on physics and doesn't understand GDP, so this is all in a wider sense irrelevant.
economics (GDP) would be to the far left (or between sociology and math if we're on S^1), so if efficiency became a part of the exchange rate or tax on goods, it would become immediately understandable by planet.
I like BTW, the suggestion that the planet's understanding things. I can imagine she feels rather itchy these days.
Basically, a propaganda piece for neoliberal capitalism which is driving us into the ground fast. Borderline criminal, maybe.
Then the first line of the author's thesis (more capitalism needed) doesn't follow from the premise:
As China and Sweden demonstrate, advanced economies need not necessarily be strictly capitalist.
For instance, understanding why burning down a rain-forest to make $100 might not be worthwhile, akin to uber drivers endangering drivers and pedestrians to make $15.
Sometimes developed western countries seem to have sympathy for people who are willing to deforest African nations (whom are also usually helpless to act against these transgressions) and poach endangered animals (an obvious heinous act) and oddly sometimes progressives will state that it's less-bad because they're poor / uneducated...
Stable homes for all, reduce and/or eliminate the worst forms of advertising.
With some luck you then have a relatively happy populace, content to spend time with their family and on leisure etc without wanting to get big 4x4s or jet around the world or whatever. Kill off the rat race.
Quite incompatible with our current economy though...
I think the most interesting thought experiment here is when you consider extremist progressives who want to "kill the rich and elite" - in reality if this actually did play out I think they'd just end up killing people who are most evidently "rich" but not actually withholding wealth from the poor. In essence, they'd be killing all the self-obsessed and narcissistic consumerists. Anyone who was actually rich or still in control of banking infrastructure would be smart enough to not be showy. (yes, I understand this is a pretty extreme tangent)
All in all, I do think the rat race is empowering to people who are able to understand what is really valuable to them.
> * the efficiencies driven by capitalism
> * technological progress that has allowed us to “dematerialize” our consumption (by, for instance, cramming atlases, compasses, calculators, recorders, cameras, stereos, and other gadgets into a single device in our pocket)
> * public awareness of environmental damage
> * governments that respond to those concerns by putting regulations in place to reduce those harms
> So, McAfee argues, what we need to address climate change and prevent other environmental catastrophes, while maintaining modern living standards for billions of people, is … even more of each of these [four forces], working in concert.
Which is what any environmental economist--or any economist generally--would tell you.
I guess it's nice to see this well-known fact applied at a broader level. I haven't seen that before.
But it also makes me feel a bit like "We're dummies, no?" What pretty much everyone knows to be true at the micro level shouldn't be some kind of big news at the macro level, yet it is because everyone thinks capitalism is ruining the planet.
Figures from the abstract - somewhat out of date but true to a lesser extent today - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851800/