Term Paper: Animal Dreams: Real Life Reflections

Pages: 8 (2408 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] John Chrysostom saying water "represents death and internment, but also life and resurrection. When we plunge our head beneath water and then emerge, our old selves are lost. We are cleansed, we rise anew" (p. 902). The future of our culture and our ability to sustain life depends on mankind's commitment to the natural world (Magnuson, 902).

The first step toward change is education. Environmental representatives and ordinary citizens must work intimately with government officials to understand what actions contribute to water pollution. They must also understand what changes are necessary to sustain the earth's fertility. Without such understanding, few will change their patterns of destruction or enable real reform.

The first step is understanding how every day activities can contribute to pollution. Most people assume that the greatest offenders are large corporations that dump environmental toxins into the worlds' streams and lakes. This is not the case however. Our every day living habits and activities contribute to water population. As Billow (2002) points out, residential streets and driveways are "inundated with oils and metals while lawns and gardens release fertilizers and herbicides" all of which contribute to the pollution of rivers and lakes through storm water runoff (44). Fortunately mankind can take drastic steps to help reduce water pollution and improve mankind's chances for survival. Billow (2002) suggests that homeowners take action starting with their own habits, by installing a rain garden that helps transform toxins into "harmless compounds" by redirecting rainwater (902). Such innovative methods must be more widely adopted. People may also begin making small changes including using more environmentally friendly products to help minimize the toxic effects runoff has on large bodies of water.

Like the characters in Animal Dreams took control of their community so too must modern day communities. In some urban communities citizens are starting to recognize the importance of conservation efforts. Warrick (2001) points out that the connection between land and water is crucial, noting that rivers are currently "straining under a burden of chemicals and silt from thousands of smaller sources." The author notes that over 40% of rivers and lakes in the U.S. are not clean enough to support basic uses like fishing or swimming according to the EPA (Warrick, 2001). The biggest problem according to the author is lack of knowledge among community members. The author suggests educating states regarding the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program, enabled by the Clean Water Act of 1972. This program forces states to recognize sources of water pollution along watersheds and drainage basins.

States should work more aggressively according to Warrick (2002) to set limits on the maximum daily load of pollution large bodies of water should carry. Officials in Wilmington Delaware using this approach realized that farming and suburban sprawl were primarily to blame for pollution in the nearby Christina River Basin (Warrick, 2002). Unfortunately few if any of the nations 50 states currently comply with the legal requirements outlined by this regulation. Education might be key here in helping state officials recognize how important it is to identify sources of pollution, as many are subtle (Anderson, 1994). Communities are capable of coming up with workable solutions to water pollution once they understand the source. For example, in Georgia a citizen led coalition was able to address watershed pollution in the Upper Suwannee River after becoming educated as to the sources of pollution; likewise in Vermont and New York citizen clean up teams not address pollution along the Lake Champlain Basin (Warrick, 2001). Any steps, whether large or small within a community are likely to result in positive change and help promote the health and well being of the environment.

For change to occur it must happen quickly. Time is not on mankind's side when it comes to pollution. Without quick action any assistance will come too late to make a difference. As Nick Mabey, economic policy officer of the WWF points out, "time is running out for us to change the way we live if we are to leave future generations a living planet" (Brough, 15).

It is vital that citizens and government officials take action now to protect the world's natural water resources (Brannon, 2002). Individuals do not have time to wait for personal tragedy to occur before they realize the significance our natural bodies of water have to offer. Mankind must realize now how vital natural water is to life's sustenance and mankind's future fertility. Only through education and awareness, as well as commitment from governing authorities is significant and meaningful change likely to occur.

References:

Anderson, Terry L. (1994). "Enviro-Capitalism vs. Enviro-Socialism, " Kansas Journal

of Law and Public Policy 4: 35 -- 40.

Arnold, Frank S. (1995). Economic Analysis of Environmental Policy and Regulation, New York: Wiley.

Billow, L. (2002). "Right as rain: Control water pollution with your own rain garden." E,

13(2): 44.

Brannon, P.M. (2002). "Meeting the challenges of global needs." Human Ecology, 30(4):

1.

Brough, G. (1998 -- October 2). "Vanishing world' Shock report on our dying planet. "

The Mirror, 15.

Cole, DH (2002). Pollution and property: Comparing ownership institutions for environmental protection. Cambridge: University Press.

Freedman, M. & Jaggi, B. (1993). Air and water pollution regulation: Accomplishments and economic consequences. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Jones, V. (2004). "Pollution of lakes and rivers: A paleoenvironmental perspective." The

Geographical Journal, 170(3): 2004.

Manguson, J. (1999). "Great Lakes, troubled waters." The Christian Century, 116(25):

Valens, Keja. SparkNote on Animal Dreams.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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