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Sociology and the Environment

Sociology and the Environment - Sociology and the...

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Sociology and the Environment Era of Naïve Optimism People believed technology could do no wrong Technology performed amazing and almost magical acts Post Hiroshima, people consider consequences of technology Openheimer: Organized nuclear bomb project Assembled many great scientists to create atom bomb Tested bomb 2 weeks before Hiroshima "I am becoming death; the shadower of worlds" 1970's Technological disasters show problems with technology o Pesticide leak in India killed thousands o Chernobyl nuclear meltdown o 1989 Crude oil spill Technology The application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life Normal Accident The complexity of modern technologies ensures they will inevitably fail, though in unpredictable ways (Charles Perow) Rare combinations of circumstances have unpredictable outcomes Can result in Environmental threats o Ex. Brown fields, ozone depletion, oil spills, animal extinction Risk Society A society in which technology distributes danger and advantage among all social groups However, some groups always more exposed than others What are more dangerous forms of technology? How is risk distributed amongst social groups? Vary by class, race, and country Global Warming Begins at Industrial Revolution Increased need for fuel Burning fuels releases CO2 Accumulation of CO2 allows more solar radiation to enter; less to leave o GREENHOUSE EFFECT (Gradual inc. to worlds surface temperature) Negative Effects Oceans rising (melting and expansion of ice and water) Land erosion
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Genetic Pollution Refers to the health and ecological dangers that may result from artificially splicing genes together Recombinant DNA Is a technique that involves artificially joining bits of DNA from a donor to the DNA of a host Effects: Make crops more efficient Make affordable biodegradable products Microbes that absorb radioactivity and oil Dangers of Genetic Pollution New species in new environment -> environmental issues Resistance -> super virus or microbes Sociological Implications: Environmental problems need to be perceived as problems first This is a social process Thus they are disputed socially and politically Inherently dangerous; not inherently problematic but are socially constructed Mass media receptive to efforts of environmental issue awareness 1988 Drought Time magazine - Big Dry Global warming big issue 1994 Eruption Public concern dying Eruption of Philippines volcano reduces overall temp Egyptian Rising Tide: Relocation of pop. Spoiled crops -> food shortages Research and funds come from parties that have interest in global warming Sociological Distribution: Not uniform danger Poorer -> more susceptible to disaster (circumstances render vulnerable) Ex. Global Warming mainly effect on Egypt, Bangladesh, and Vietnam o USA 22% of emissions, but EGYPT 0.05%, and more effected by GW
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