Lately, rising sea level is among the contentious environmental issues and has become more challenging in environmentalism. Rising sea level has various impacts on both the natural environment and human populations, more especially those living on islands and the coastal regions. It is estimated that the sea level rose by about 1.8 yearly in 1950-2010, and this rate keep on increasing with time. There are a number of factors that are associated with the rising sea level. The Caribbean sea-level rise serves as a good illustration of how the sea-level rise is an environmental challenge (Gallagher, 2006). This paper seeks to assess the impact of the rising sea level of the Caribbean Sea on the natural environment and how such factors as the society, economic systems, globalization, free trade, and urbanization contribute to rising sea level.
The society also plays a significant role in environmental degradation. The society depends on the environment for survival, but putting pressure on the environment is likely to lead to degradation. Most environmentalists believe that overpopulation is one of the biggest problems affecting the environment. Overpopulation leads to overexploitation of environmental resources including over-consumption, and unsustainable development (Robbins et al, 2010). Moreover, various human activities are damaging to the environment in a number of ways. For instance, modern agricultural techniques are unfriendly to the environment, and are likely to cause degradation in the long-run, even though they may be contributing to increased production. Thus, human activities contributing to overexploitation and destruction of the environment around the Caribbean Sea are likely to contribute to sea-level rise in this region.
Globalization also affects the environment in a number of ways. Globalization is as an increase in the interconnectedness of the environment and people throughout the globe via transmission and exchange of ideas, labor, money, capital, as well as commodities. Arguably, the overall environmental effects of globalization are uncertain. However, the core factors of alter-globalization activist movement are the negative impacts of globalization. To some degree, globalization forms the basis of free trade policies, which the environmentalists claim to be the cause of environmental degradation in various parts of the globe (Shiva, 2000). This explains why they advocate for “fair trade” instead of “free trade”. Additionally, globalization facilitates rapid economic growth and structural change in various parts of the globe, leading to increased extraction, use of resources, and degradation. With globalization polices, overexploitation of resources in the Caribbean Sea is likely to occur, leading to its degradation.
Capitalism mode of production has also played a role in environmental degradation. Although capitalism promotes economic growth, the policies or rather the assumptions of this mode of production have proved to be unfriendly to the environment. For instance, capitalism marked the beginning of the shift from the use value to exchange value. The exchange value acts as the impetus of production efficiencies of firms. Thus, capitalism gives perfect conditions for the operations of profit seeking firms (Simon, 2007). With the profit motive, firms pay little attention to environmental conservation and instead this leads to the exploitation of the environment. Besides, in capitalism mode of production, firms and individuals face minimal regulations regarding environmental preservation, permitting them to pursue their profit maximization motive at the expense of environmental preservation.
Based on free trade policies, the governments have limited roles to play as far regulation of trading activities is concerned. According to the environmentalists, the main purpose of trading is to generate income. Thus, there is minimal attention given to the environmental protection, as it is not part of trade objectives. The environmentalists argue that lack of or minimal governmental regulations in free trade are likely to promote environmental degradation. Additionally, free trade promotes or rather favors economic growth, and economic growth is likely to cause more damage to the environment (Bhagwati and Daly, 1993). Free traders are concerned more about maximizing profits as well as production, without taking into consideration hidden environmental and social costs. For instance, free trade necessitates large scale production, which contributes to environmental pollution. Studies indicate that pollution is one of factors that contribute to global warming and climate change. Thus, free trade contributes to the rise of sea level through promoting large scale production with minimal attention to environmental issues, which in turn contributes global warming, one of the causes of sea-level rise.
Lastly, environmentalists are worried as well with the rate at which urban areas are growing. Studies indicate that urbanization is one of the contributory factors to environmental degradation. For instance, the degree of environmental pollution in urban areas is higher as compared to other areas, due to concentration of production activities in these areas (Simon, 2007). Additionally, overpopulation in the urban areas on top of poor planning has proved to be a tremendous set-back in preserving the environment.
In conclusion, as mentioned above rising sea level is among the contentious environmental issues and has become more challenging in environmentalism. Rising sea level has various impacts on both the natural environment and human populations, more especially those living on islands and the coastal regions. There are a number of factors surrounding this environmental issue, which indicates that it has been politicked. The first factor is the role that the society plays in environmental degradation. Environmentalists have noted that human activities are among the leading agents of environmental degradation. The other factor is globalization. The motives of globalization have led to implementation of policies that pay little attention to environmental preservation. The third factor is capitalism, which advocates for production for profit motive. Another closely related factor is free trade. These factors contributed to promotion of large scale production, which has led to pollution of the environment.
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