Research Paper: Law Help Protect the Environment

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[. . .] Ultimately, too many other variables are involved in accomplishing the success of the legal policies and, as this review has shown, compliance with not only the latter of the law but also the spirit of the law, ultimately, rests on motivation of businesses and citizens to cooperate in protecting the environment. How this can be done will be addressed in the consequent sections.

Protective measures

Since environmental concerns is a huge topic, the best we can do is break it down into its most important categories and evaluate their problems and what individuals can do to address them

There are various threats to the marine and geo ecosystem. Three of the most common are:

(a) Ocean pollution (b) land pollution; and (c) toxic gasses that cause smog and damage to air

1. Ocean Pollution

Marine pollution stems from point and non-point sources. Plastic impacts the marine system by as much as 90-95% in some areas extending the damage to marine life by killing and destructing much of the marine ecosystem. Noise is another pollutant, since underground animals rely on sound for distance. Other sources of pollution include pharmaceutical pollution that harms reproduction and mortality of marine animals and offshore drilling for oil and gas.

General remedies for pollution where citizens can become involved include activism behind congressmen to ensure that responsible protection and prevention of damage to marine environment is sustained (Amos, 2011)

Another concern is the overexploitation or over fishing that may lead to resource depletion and with endangered and threatened species disappearing from our life.

Humans exploit more than 400 marine species and modern fishing techniques have exacerbated tendency to over fish. The problem is so bad that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that over 25% of the world's fish stocks are incompletely depleted and that as high as 50% are totally depleted (The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, SOFIA). Lobbying can be employed here too.

2. Earth Pollution

In the final months of 2002, San Luis Obispo County compared greenhouse gas emission for recycling in 2002 as compared to greenhouse gas emissions from landfills in that same year. They showed that "producing products such as newsprint, cardboard, glass containers, aluminum can sheet and plastic pellets with virgin material emits 6,5777 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent" (p.16) that is, making these products from raw material. However making these same products from recycled material only produced 1,685 pounds of carbon dioxide and CD equivalents. In other words, using recycled material reduces greenhouse gas emissions to 26% as well as saving the earth from unwanted toxic smell and toxic presence of garbage. Recycling is something that citizens can easily do in order to ensure that the environmental laws are effective.

3. Air pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions

Thousands of people are dying each year because of air pollution and smog (Kennedy et al., 2009). In fact, the National Illness Cost of Air Pollution (OCAP) study by the Canadian Medical Association revealed that in Canada alone, 21,000 Canadians will die in 2008 as a result of air pollution and that this number will rise to 710,000 by 2031 (Kennedy et al., 2009). The government in most concerned countries is endeavoring to implement policies, but government is not the only problem. Corporations that must spend millions in making their environment less toxic, are reluctant to make changed. This is where individuals can come in by forming groups and lobbying for change.

In General: Steps citizens can take

In 1971, a small band of 12 concerned Canadian individuals called themselves 'Greenpeace' and banded together in an effort to protest American testing of nuclear weapons. They grew into becoming an international phenomenon that proved a challenge to governments and corporations worldwide. Their mission, meanwhile extended to: global warming; conservation of the world's forests; protecting biodiversity in all its forms; preventing pollutions of marine atmospheres, land, air, and fresh water; as well as promoting global disarmament. Personalities from all strata -from politicians to poets, and ordinary citizens to celebrities -- have joined this growing movement and the movement, therefore, small thoguh it originally was has assumed massive influence and power. Greenpeace now has headquarters in most major countries and features members in parliament in various western European cities (Kennedy et al., 2009). Thus the power of a few individuals!

Ordinary citizens are never simply ordinary. They too can band together and take steps to ensure that environmental policies are adhered to and followed, and that more are put in place if necessary. In all cases, recommendations for improvement can be induced by putting pressure on governments and regulatory bodies, as well as supporting companies that are environmentally conscious and increasing people's knowledge about their impact and effect on the geo- and marine environment and on how they can improve it.

Green peace was started by individuals who were informed of the problem and cognizant of its impact. Knowledge is the key to instigating concern for the environment. As Kennedy et al. (2009) indicate, knowledge is not simply sufficient: It must be "well-timed and positioned information that speaks to a broad array of audiences "(p.83) so that individuals understand, for instance, the benefit to the environment that small steps such as turning off one's engine can give and the positive and negative results associated with various forms of bio-fuels.

Restraints are in place: the law has seen to it that most people have access to recycling apparatus; most urban cities have public transit system, and a growing number of corporations are providing paper bags instead of plastic. Time availability is a constraint that discourages many people from using these systems, but information of the importance of environmental protection to both the earth and to humans (aside from to animals and plants) may motivate humans to take better care of their atmosphere. In conclusion: knowledge of the ecosystem will help the human better augment the earth that we live on through means habitat enhancement (i.e. increasing the suitability of an ecosystem for species to thrive), remediation (improving an existing system, or creating a new one in order to replace another), and mitigation (namely legal procedures to impede reduction of protected species or ecosystem). It is in this way that citizens can help the law protect the environment. This is how citizens can work to ensure that legislation is implemented

References

Amos, W. (2011) Development of Canadian Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling: Lessons from the Gulf of Mexico RECIEL 20 (1)

British Columbia v. Canadian Forest Products Ltd., [2004] 2 S.C.R. 74, 2004 SCC 38

Bruce, JP (2011) Protecting Groundwater: The Invisible but Vital Resource C.D. Howe Institute

DeMarco, Jerry V;Valiante, Marcia;Bowden, Marie-Ann (2005) Opening the Door for Common Law Environmental Protection in Canada Journal of Environmental Law and Practice 15, 2

Dickinson, G., and K. Murphy. 1998. Ecosystems: A Functional Approach. London: Routledge.

Gunningham, N. (2009) Environment Law, Regulation and Governance: Shifting

Architectures, Journal of Environmental Law 21:2

Howie, L. (2007). Thinking Outside the Box: Environmental Protection Alternative Measures Journal of Environmental Law and Practice; 18, 1-87

National Science Foundation (2009) Are humans altering earth's biogeochemical cycles? http://www.sciencecodex.com/are_humans_altering_earth_s_biogeochemical_cycles

Kennedy, EH. et al. (2009) Why We Don't "Walk the Talk": Understanding the Environmental Values/Behaviour Gap in Canada Human… [END OF PREVIEW]

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