A desire to protect the environment is more than just some hippy utopian idea. Prior to governments involvement is passing regulations that govern the business practices and define corporate and personal environmental responsibility there were a number of environmental tragedies that effected real people, some even resulting in countless deaths. As the industrial revolution blazed across Europe and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century coal and petroleum based power dominated the corporate and individual energy markets. With no regulations corporations and people had no limits on the amount of energy they could consume and no guidelines for disposal of those energy byproducts. As a result, tragic events occurred like the Great London Fog and Flaming rivers across the United States. These were all signs that our energy use was having a great negative impact on the health of our countries people and their environment. Out of these tragedies governments created oversight boards and agencies to study, regulate and protect the country’s natural resources.
In the United States that group is known as the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately, even with the establishment of the EPA our environment and the health of our resources still face risks because of corporate accidents or neglect. These are the most common causes of environmental contamination from corporations in the United States today.
There are tight regulations about waste disposal in the United States but unfortunately a number of corporations choose to ignore the regulations and other experience accidents that result in improper waste disposal. Even individually, we produce a large amount of waste and as the world’s population grows, the amount of garbage we produce is becoming more and more difficult to handle. Businesses who manufacture items often do not take into account how their product will affect the environment once it is used up and thrown out. Excessive packaging, non-biodegradable disposable items like plastic silverware, and even on the go beverage choices can greatly affect the amount of garbage that piles up every day. Corporations also have to deal with waste, unfortunately they produce large amounts of it every day and improper disposal of waste can have a huge negative impact on the environment including things like ground water contamination, unbalanced eco-systems, and in extreme cases like hazardous waste it can render an area completely uninhabitable.
Energy companies are also another major source of concern for the environment. While not all energy companies are evil, and we should be careful not to lump those who comply with regulations in with those who often choose to ignore them, when energy accidents happen they can be devastating not only for the people, plants, and animals who live near the accident but they can also cause market prices to spike. Controlling the environmental impact of energy is very important to the overall health of a nation.
Water is a key element that is needed to sustain any life on our planet. There are wars fought over water. Access to clean water for drinking, bathing, and growing food is necessary for the survival of any civilization. Our planet’s surface is covered with water, in fact about three quarters of the earth surface is water. Unfortunately, the salt water within the earth’s oceans is not suitable as drinking water for plants, humans, and land animals. Protecting our fresh water and finding new ways to distribute it to the earth’s population is one of the most important jobs we are tasked with as a civilization.