Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quality of Life

Some environmental issues do not relate to a direct threat to survival but play an important part in the general quality of life. Access to the countryside, noise, dust, litter, traffic congestion and so on all effect the general well-being of the human population.

In Britain, for example, massive protests have arisen due to the construction of roads through ancient countryside and have lead to polarisation of opinion between those who prefer the construction of roads and those who wish to preserve the existing landscape.

In many countries, the flooding of areas due to the construction of hydroelectric dams has lead to mass displacement of populations - again often accompanied by protests. Governments often offer compensation to displaced persons but this may be insufficient to balance the sense of loss of being removed from an area that a family has farmed for generations.

The right to a traditional lifestyle has often come into conflict with the drive for economic development. For example, in Brazil, large portions of area are designated as reserves for the native Indians, but the logging and mining interests are in constant conflict with Indians leading to some deaths.

As the amount of eco-capital decreases there will be an inevitable struggle between competing groups to control the available resources.

Points for Discussion - the problem of Scientific Uncertainty :

Which is more environmentally friendly - a car running on diesel or a car fitted with a three-way catalyst running on petrol? Is it possible to define one option or the other as environmentally preferable?

Is it reasonable for an environmentally minded government to reduce taxation on diesel fuel relative to petrol to encourage its use? Is it QUALITY OF LIFE????

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