Apr 2, 2021 in Informative

Reviewing McNeil's Idea on Environmental Change


The human species commenced interacting with the environment from the beginning of life. People are busy working on their career of revolutionizing the planet, something that has been happening for approximately 4 billion years. Resultantly, gradual change in the environment has been transpiring. The issue of environmental change has become a contentious issue leading to an array of people making their individualized arguments regarding the cause, magnitude and the nature of impact it has on the future of the planet. The ecosystem, for instance, is already endangered and still is changing with intensity and speed than any other time in history. McNeil argues that Most of the things people do that change environments count as economic activity. Arguably, the economys magnitude or size is calculated by accumulating the total goods and services in the market. For instance, a figure termed as the Gross Domestic Product is already derived when the economic performance is questioned. Despite the fact that it is a disputable economic perspective, however, it is still useful regarding determining the ability to compete. The essay intends to establish the extent in which the environment-changing human activities can be categorized as economic activities. Further, it aims to provide rational arguments regarding the fact that the interaction between the people and the environment has led the adverse impacts on the quality of life within the very environment.


The idea behind McNeil's argument

McNeil, in a bid to explain the phenomenon of environmental change argues that a large proportion of what human beings do that lead to changes in the environment tend to count as economic activities. According to him, man has been very busy revolutionizing the world and making changes in a bid to favor his economic status and lifestyle. For instance, natural resources are now facing the threat of being used for economic activities without the hope of an alternative representation regarding replacing the resources being used by others. Therefore, he argues that it is not disputable that man has been engaging in environment degrading activities. However, a wide scope of these activities is expected to serve the economic purpose. As such, there is an inverse relationship between the state of the environment and the economic activities man which man engages. 

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Arguments In Support Of McNeil's Arguments

McNeils argument recognizes the intensity of dilemma regarding what human beings are doing to encroach an environment they have lived in for a long time now. His argument is as good as it is already documented for future reference. However, it is also imperative to account for the historical essence of environmental change. Historically, the geological forces that included eruption of volcanoes or emergence of asteroids used to be prime causes of the alteration that occurred regarding the environmental degradation. At the time, there were intensively radical environmental changes that are taking place today. However, besides the fact that man may not have had such instantaneous impact on the climate, his endeavors from an economic perspective has become very influential in changing the environment. In a bid to exemplify the extent in which the economic activities have resulted in the pollution of the environment, the essay will incorporate an overview of human activities from the ancient centuries to the 20th and 21st century. That will assist in analyzing the gradual change in the environment and the magnitude of economic activities involved in changing the nature of the environment.

In the 1500s, approximately 500 years ago, the helm of economic development was quite slow. In an assumption that the use of GDP rates economic performance, the economic status by then was still lagging behind. The production technologies were also very minimal. Concurrently, the extent in which they resulted in pollution of the environment was equality minimized. However, as the 1800s and 1900s approached, the wheel of industrial revolution commenced accelerating. That meant that activities such as transportation, manufacturing, processing, and commercial farming increased. The use of fossil fuels leads to emissions that started encroaching the environment affecting it adversely. 

From an economic perspective, as the human race interacts with the environment by using the natural resources such as fossil fuels that are unrenewable, the rate of environment degradation is elevating gradually. It is imperative to note that there have a series of talks by global environmental summits for the human beings to shift their economic activities from using non-renewable energy to renewable without any outcome. Almost all stakeholders are neglecting their social responsibility to protect the human race from a damaged environment.

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As the 20th and 21st centuries approach, almost avenues where that human being integrate with the environmental for economic purposes are ending up depleting the status of the environment. For instance, man is harvesting the tree cover irresponsibly destabilizing the ecosystem. The agricultural activities that man is practicing to improve food security as a social measure earn income as an economic measure and maintain sovereignty as a political measure are leading massive pollution of the soil. Thus, people are altering the chemistry of the soil. Despite the fact that the 20th century does not have any new aspect of environmental change, the already existent human-related activities are causing massive destruction of the environment to an extent of reducing the thickness of the Ozone Layer.

From McNeils concept of economic activities, as the GDP values of economies increase, the magnitude of environmental degradation has been increasing thus reflecting a direct relationship. The economic activities, therefore, are expected to maintain the high notch even in the next one or two decades. However, there are political and social discrepancies that are emerging as a result. For instance, some countries are proposing that there be a change in the mode of economic production. That includes changing the energy used from non-renewable to green energy. Others believe that the shift is too expensive for their economies to bear. Further, some countries are proposing that organic farming is adopted. However, very few are ready to comply. Hence, political loggerheads are likely to be experienced. Resultantly the quality of life, from a social and health perspective, is at risk. That is because of the increased case of global warming in the world leading to adverse occurrences such as cancerous infections and natural calamities such as tsunamis that occur due to a rise in the sea level. 


The interaction between human beings and the environment has led to an adverse change in the environment, especially regarding the economic activities conducted by the human race. Accordingly, McNeils argument is substantial and logical. Ever since the human race commenced revolutionizing the world regarding economic progress, activities such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing have continually degraded the natural status of the environment. Resultantly, the world is facing political, economic and social discrepancies in a bid to control the changes but yet, it is not ready to shed some of the economic activities that cause the adverse change in the environment.


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