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Paper Assignment: EVRN/HIST 336
Description
For this paper you will select a contemporary (post-2000) environmental problem facing the world,
preferably one that you are concerned about personally. Examples might include but are not limited
to climate change, offshore drilling, strip mining, factory farming, soil loss, deforestation, and
mountaintop removal. Your thesis will articulate and offer a critical argument regarding the ethical
stance you endorse in relation to resolving the problem.
In the first part of the paper, you will need to address the following questions based on your
research on the topic:
1.
2.
3.
4.
What is the environmental problem you are studying?
Why is it a problem worth examining?
Who are the main actors and places associated with the problem?
What efforts have been made to address this problem?
In the second part of your paper you will make an argument for the ethical position you endorse.
This requires you to address the following questions:
5. What ethical stances have created and/or contributed to the problem?
6. What ethical stances have been and/or could be the basis for efforts to address the
problem?
7. Why is the ethical stance you endorse better than the other ethical stances you
discuss? (What are the underlying limitations of and/or problems with those stances
that have been or could be used? How does it avoid the underlying limitations
and/or problems of those stances?) What are the limitations of this stance (for
example, in terms of rhetorical appeal)? How would you address these limitations?
8. Based on your answer to number 9, what actions have you taken/do you take/or
could you take in your daily life to follow the ethical solution you have chosen to
the problem you are examining.
Components
1. Paper topic and abstract. Due Friday, February 26th.
2. Paper outline, due on Friday, April 16th
Guidelines
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Please use Times New Roman or Garamond font, size 12, and include page numbers, a
thoughtful title, one inch margins, and double spaced.
Length requirements: at least 10 pages. Research component and thought component should
be at least 5 pages each.
Develop a coherent narrative that fulfills the following requirements:
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1. States the environmental problem you will examine in a creative introductory
paragraph.
2. Identifies the actors, places, and institutions associated with the problem.
3. Identifies and explains the various ethical systems and social dynamics that have
contributed to the problem.
4. Makes an argument about a potential solution to the problem through the
application of a competing or antithetical environmental ethic or viewpoint we have
studied.
5. Discusses how this ethic will lead to a more holistic or responsible relationship
between humanity and the environment while simultaneously critiquing less ethical
perspectives.
Conduct research that goes beyond the internet.
1. You must use journalistic sources in your research component, including newspaper
articles, magazine and journal articles, and other germane materials. See below for a
partial list of resources that will help you in this.
2. You must use academic sources, such as books and journal articles in your analytical
component. Course materials will provide a starting point for you, but you will need
to conduct further research into your chosen ethical system or viewpoint.
Cite your sources using Chicago Style format. Guidelines may be found here:
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
Submit via SafeAssign.
Grading Rubric Breakdown.
Introduction that clearly identifies the problem and articulates a thesis.
Identification of the major actors and places involved
Explanation of the ethical system that has led to the problem
Proposed solution to the problem using multiple ethical systems and viewpoints
Discussion of the limitations/problems of alternative ethical solutions
Organization, use of evidence and analysis, quality of writing
Citation of at least one academic source (book, scholarly article, etc.)
Citation of at least five different newspaper or magazine articles
10%
10%
15%
20%
25%
10%
5%
5%
Invaluable resources for research papers (available through KU Libraries):
Secondary sources:
• JSTOR
• Google Scholar
• Hein Online
Primary sources
• ProQuest Historical Newspapers
• America’s News
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Paper Topic and Abstract (10 points).
Directions
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Identify the problem you have chosen (water pollution in West Virginia, deforestation in the
Amazon, etc.).
Answer as best you can the first four questions posed on the assignment sheet listed above.
The goal here is for you to demonstrate that your topic has enough information to be
worthy of the final product.
Be as specific as you can. We will make allowances given the limited time you have to turn in
your topic, but the more specific you can be, the better off you will be.
Submit your paper topic and abstract via SafeAssign on Blackboard.
Format
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Name and course information in the upper left-hand corner.
Thoughtful title that indicates the topic you have chosen.
Single-spaced paragraph that is 300-500 words long.
Cite at least two sources that you have found at the bottom of the page (newspapers,
magazines, etc.).
Times New Roman/Garamond font, size 12, one-inch margins.
Example topic available in the “assignments” section of Blackboard.
Reasons for Lost Points
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Abstract is not 300-500 words long.
Did not cite at least two sources.
Did not follow the format listed here an in the example.
Paper Outline (100 Points).
Directions
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Produce an outline of your entire paper. You can organize your outline into section or
individual paragraphs.
Address the specific guidelines enumerated on the assignment sheet above (questions 1-8).
Include an introduction (with thesis/argument).
Construct your thesis by answering the following questions: what ethical stance do you
endorse philosophically and/or practically in terms of addressing the problem? Why is your
chosen ethical stance better than other ethical systems that have been used or could be used
to address the problem?
Include as much evidence as you can in your outline. Quotations, facts and figures, and
other relevant materials should be included and explained in terms of their significance to
your argument.
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Cite your sources. From your outline, we should have a good idea of the sources (journalistic
and academic) that you are drawing on. For the outlines, citations can be in footnotes or
parenthetically mentioned.
Include a bibliography at the end of your paper on a separate page (does not count towards
the point total).
Think of the outline as an annotated version of your final paper. You should be able to look
at the sections of your outline and easily translate them into paragraphs for your final paper.
Submit your outline via SafeAssign on Blackboard.
Format
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Times New Roman/Garamond font, size 12, page numbers, thoughtful title, once-inch
margins, double spaced.
Name and course information in the upper left-hand corner.
~ 5 pages.
Example outlines can be found in the “assignments” section of Blackboard.
Reasons for Lost Points
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Not following directions.
Incomplete outline.
Topic not narrowed down according to feedback on paper topic.
All questions not answered.
Insufficient discussion of actors.
Insufficient discussion of ethical systems.
Failure to draw on course materials/authors/texts.
No introduction/thesis/argument.
Poor citations or no citations at all.
No bibliography.
Does not meet adequate length requirements.
Format
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Times New Roman/Garamond font, size 12, page numbers, thoughtful title, once-inch
margins, double spaced.
Name and course information in the upper left-hand corner.
Minimum of 10 pages.
Example final papers can be found in the “assignments” section of Blackboard.
Reasons for Lost Points
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Not following directions.
Incomplete work.
All questions not answered.
No introduction/thesis/argument.
No conclusion.
5
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Insufficient discussion of actors.
Insufficient discussion of ethical systems.
Failure to draw on course materials/authors/texts.
Poor citations or no citations at all.
Does not meet adequate length requirements.
Animal Agriculture
There is no denying that human actions have caused climate change. But these actions are
not only limited to air pollution and deforestation but also animal agriculture. Although some
studies argue that animal agriculture slightly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, it is
nonetheless best to adopt a plant-based diet to lessen the greenhouse gas emissions caused by
animal agriculture. A plant-based diet can significantly mitigate the effects of climate change
which threaten the longevity of the planet. Animal agriculture refers to the breeding process of
animals for human consumption. The environmental problem with this process begins with the
greenhouse gas emissions from animals which speed up climate change. These gases trap heat
from the sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, which causes the Earth’s surface to heat up and
irrevocably change the climate (Harrabin). The more people continue to consume vast amounts
of meat, the more meat the livestock industry will produce to meet the demand, which
exacerbates climate change. Unfortunately, the Earth is the only known place suitable for
humans, and thus it needs preservation. Nonetheless, greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly
causing the demise of the Earth. If people do not act now, the Earth will not continue to sustain
life. But, by examining this issue, the Earth will stand a fighting chance against climate change.
A plant-based diet can significantly mitigate climate change since plants use carbon dioxide for
photosynthesis. The meat industry worsens climate change as it prioritizes profits over
sustainability. Beef production, in particular, accounts for the largest percentage of greenhouse
gas emissions from animal agriculture (Quinton). The dairy industry, encompassing companies
like Nestle, is another contributor to climate change as it uses cows’ milk in manufacturing
products. However, the demand for meat in countries like the United States and Australia drives
these industries, and therefore individuals that consume meat and dairy products equally play a
role in increasing climate change. The United Nations has taken a firm stance for people to lean
towards a plant-based diet to remedy climate change. A report revealed how the overconsumption of meat was causing a rise in greenhouse gases (Harrabin). Meanwhile, activists
like Greta Thunberg are pressurizing governments to act against climate change and not only
draw up policies (Specter). Likewise, businesses like Beyond Meat are manufacturing meat-free
products to make the transition to a plant-based diet easier. The meat-based diet that many
ascribed to is accelerating climate change as animals emit greenhouse gases. However, a plantbased diet can reverse the effects of climate change. By consuming more food naturally
produced by plants and not animal-based, the Earth stands a chance to continue sustaining life.
Works Cited
Harrabin, Roger. “Plant-Based Diet Can Fight Climate Change – UN.” BBC News, 8 Aug. 2019,
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49238749. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
Quinton, Amy. “Cows and Climate Change.” UC Davis, 27 Jun. 2019,
https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/news/making-cattle-moresustainable/#:~:text=1%20agricultural%20source%20of%20greenhouse,the%20Departm
ent%20of%20Animal%20Science. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
Specter, Emma. “Greta Thunberg Delivers a Furious Climate Change Message to the U.N.”
Vogue, 23 Sep. 2019, https://www.vogue.com/article/greta-thunberg-un-climate-actionsummit-speech. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
HIST 336 Outline
Solar Fuels: Ethical Pathway from Scientists’ Holy Grail to Societal Reality
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Introduction
o The concerted efforts of chemists all around the globe over the last fifty years
have culminated in the development of multiple renewable fuel sources as
realistic alternatives to fossil fuels. Some have focused on removing carbon
dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to be used as a feedstock for traditional
carbon-containing fuels; others have sought to eliminate carbon from the equation
and rely instead on hydrogen fuel, which does not release CO2 when burned.
While the fundamental chemistry necessary to produce renewable fuels has been
attained, the next obstacle is implementation of one of these systems in a safe,
sustainable, and efficient way so that we do not ensure our own destruction by
greenhouse gas-induced climate change. One of the biggest obstacles to this goal
is the ethical system that drives our consumption-based society. American
innovators in the field have faced obstacles to progress both on the market and
from the U.S. government. These negative responses stem from a reluctance to
make expensive worldwide changes with no immediate monetary gain. A
different ethical system is therefore required to successfully implement renewable
fuel on a global scale. Here, I will detail two landmark renewable fuel
alternatives, identify the combination of laissez-faire ethics with a general
dismissal of science that has precluded mass adoption of these options, and
advocate for an ethical system rooted in Wangari Maathai’s “personal
responsibility”.
The problem (or actually, the problem within the problem) and why it is important:
o The root cause of the challenge to implement clean fuels is in CO2 emissions.
â–ª Link between increased CO2 concentration with increased global
temperatures, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification1
▪ Timeline: global warming of 1.5°C would be very bad; to stop it we would
need to decrease CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030; we would need to
reach “net zero” by 2050 (i.e., any emissions would need to be cancelled
out by removing CO2 from the air).1
o Chemistry provides possible solution…
â–ª synthesize non-carbon-containing fuels or pull CO2 out of the atmosphere
as starting material for traditional fuels
o …but also introduces the problem of interest:
â–ª Industrially viable systems exist but implementation has been sluggish
Actors and places: two representative examples
o Prof. Nate Lewis (overall, represents the government-funded/regulated approach)
â–ª Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) in Berkeley, CA
â–ª Electrochemical device run by solar energy that splits water into oxygen
and hydrogen
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Global Warming of 1.5oC”, United Nations, October 2018,
http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.
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HIST 336 Outline
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overcomes major problem of intermittency of renewable
solar/wind energy (i.e., the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun
doesn’t always shine) by channeling that energy into hydrogen fuel
which can be stored and transported
• 10 times the efficiency of photosynthesis in plants2
• In 2016, devices close to industrial viability: “If we had less than
$5 million a year, I’m pretty confident that we could get there in
five years, and that’s the first time I’ve said that,” [Lewis] says.2
â–ª But, Department of Energy decreased funding by 40% in 2016 and
stipulated that JCAP redirect focus to fundamental research rather than
prototyping and scaling up;2 in 2017, Trump administration threatened to
cut funding even further in 2018 budget3
o Prof. Dan Nocera (Harvard, represents the startup company/free market approach)
▪ Has his own “artificial leaf” system to make hydrogen fuel; encountered
similar pushback when he tried to scale it up
• “If I give you my renewable hydrogen the only thing you’ll do is
blow up balloons with it,” [Nocera] said. “There’s no infrastructure
for hydrogen.”4
o Hydrogen fuel is a highly flammable gas. The current
infrastructure, which is designed for liquid fuels (e.g.,
gasoline), would have to undergo major changes to
transport and store hydrogen fuel.
â–ª Applied his artificial leaf catalyst in combination with specific strains of
bacteria (Ralstonia eutropha and Xanthobacter)5
• Bacteria (which he calls “bugs”) feed on hydrogen produced by
solar energy and then convert carbon dioxide to liquid fuels
(isopropanol, isobutanol, etc.) in groundbreaking high yield
o So, overall, the only energy input is renewable solar energy
and the system is carbon neutral
• Xanthobacter system can store solar energy in the form of
bioplastic in the bacteria; when they are put underground, they
make fertilizer that grows radishes 150% bigger/better than in
control experiments6
Richard Martin, “The Road to Solar Fuels Hits a Speed Bump,” MIT Technology Review, 16 June 2016,
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601692/the-road-to-solar-fuels-hits-a-speed-bump/.
3
James Temple, “California to Trump: We’ll Fund Clean Energy if You Won’t,” MIT Technology Review, 13 June
2017, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608083/california-to-trump-well-fund-clean-energy-if-you-wont/
4
Jeff McMahon, “Harvard Scientist Engineers a Superbug that Inhales CO2, Produces Energy—A Bionic Leaf,”
Forbes, 29 May 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2016/05/29/harvard-scientist-engineers-asuperbug-that-inhales-co2-produces-energy/#4cadc6637944.
5
Chong Liu, Brendan C. Colon, Marika Ziesack, Pamela A. Silver, and Daniel G. Nocera. “Water Splitting–
Biosynthetic System with CO2 Reduction Efficiencies Exceeding Photosynthesis.” Science 352, no. 6290 (2016):
1210-213.
6
“A Bionic Leaf could Help Feed the World,” American Chemical Society, 3 April 2017,
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2017/april/bionic-leaf-could-help-feed-the-world.html.
2
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HIST 336 Outline
â–ª
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Uneasy response from potential investors
• Nocera describing the failure scenario: “Go get investors, start a
company, and then try to cram it down India’s throat, say ‘here use
it.’ And then nobody does, and my investors want return on
investment in three years because they’re from America.”4
Efforts to address the problem
o Lewis – turn to State of California for funding
â–ª 2017 – California Climate and Clean Energy Research Fund proposed in
CA Senate3
• Supported by California Climate Equity Coalition; not supported
by California governor
• died in the Senate
o Nocera – outsource to India
▪ “Because he sees the best prospects for that technology in the developing
world, Nocera is trying a different strategy—to have it developed by
Indian scientists in India.”13
â–ª
The fertilizer/crop angle is especially attractive in developing countries
that struggle to produce enough food for their populations6
Ethical stances that have contributed to the problem:
o Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons, specifically laissez-faire economicsdriven ethics
â–ª individual gains and self-interests win out regardless of the cost to the
society as a whole7
• Investors self-interest is to invest in oil, which is historically
reliable, rather than energy startups like Nocera’s which rely on
complicated interdisciplinary science
• the oil industry’s self-interest is to keep producing oil – they’re not
about to shut down their incredibly lucrative operations in favor of
marketing carbon dioxide-eating bacteria
• economy’s self interest is tied to oil industry – only lull in
increasing trend in carbon emissions was in 2009, at the height of
the financial crisis (probably not a coincidence)8
• government officials’ self-interests also tied to oil industry – oil
companies are largest contributors to election campaigns
o A general mistrust in science from multiple groups exacerbates problem (i.e.,
people don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change and therefore see no benefit
from opaque, confusing chemistry alternatives)
▪ Research into why people don’t believe in science led to the “cultural
cognition thesis”9
Garrett Hardin, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science 162, (1968): 1243-1248.
Bill McKibbon, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” The Rolling Stone, 19 July 2012,
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-188550/
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HIST 336 Outline
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“individuals are psychologically disposed to believe that behavior
they (and their peers) find honorable is socially beneficial, and
behavior they find base socially detrimental”9
o so, people whose ethical systems rest on capitalism and
individualism tend to reject scientific findings that would
call their beliefs into question
o on other end of the spectrum, even the people who believe
in climate change can pose an obstacle to systems like
Nocera’s and Lewis’s
▪ Lynn White – blames marriage of science and
technology as the ethical source of our
environmental problems10
▪ Garrett Hardin – “no technical solution”7
â–ª While both assessments have merit, they generalize
science and technology in a very negative light
• must discern between ethical science and
non-ethical science
Ethical stances that could provide solutions
o Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic”
▪ Specifically, “Ecological Conscience”
• Have to ask people to do more than what is convenient for them11
• Place responsibility on the private sector as much as on the
government12
o While Leopold is talking specifically about private
landowners, the same idea applies to private businesses like
oil companies
o Also applies to scientists who come up with the science:
Nocera – “My compensation is that something I invented
could actually really start moving renewables to market.
That’s what professors should do. We shouldn’t be making
money.”13
o Garrett Hardin’s “Mutual Coercion”
Dan Kahan, Donald Braman, Hank Jenkins-Smith, “Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus,” Journal of Risk
Research 14, (2011): 147-174.
10
Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155, no. 3767 (1967): 1203-1207.
11
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac: and Sketches Here and There (New York, Oxford University Press,
1949), 209.
12
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac: and Sketches Here and There (New York, Oxford University Press,
1949), 212.
13
Jeff McMahon, “Harvard Inventor Slams New Energy Finance, Blames Universities,” Forbes, 29 May 2016,
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2016/05/29/harvard-inventor-slams-new-energy-finance-blamesuniversities/#7e63cb352ef1.
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HIST 336 Outline
â–ª
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14
can’t rely on guilt to convince people to act responsibly toward their
environment – have to make sure there is something in it for everyone
(e.g., not going to jail)
▪ Rewards for implementation of renewable fuel systems like Nocera’s or
Lewis’s
â–ª Works within the current economic ethical system (all based on selfinterest)
However, I endorse the Environmentalism of the Poor exemplified by Wangari Maathai
as the most promising ethical system for timely implementation of Nocera and Lewis’s
renewable fuel systems.
o Characterized by a more immediate, personal drive to maintain our environment
(i.e., the Kenyan women that Wangari Maathai was able to mobilize by
encouraging a “personal responsibility”)14
▪ i.e., emphasize that if we as individuals invest in Nocera’s system (or vote
for legislation to support Lewis’s system) we have a better individual
chance of surviving past 2040
▪ Advocates for environmental security as part of national security – the
renewable fuels are a solid security option
• Everyone soon to be a victim of “slow violence” (gradual
introduction of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere)
â–ª have to extend personal responsibility for our own actions to personal
responsibility to work to convince others to in turn become personally
responsible
• “the Green Belt Movement grew from a tree-planting program into
one that planted ideas as well”14
o Example of a successful combination of ethics with science
â–ª Differentiates between destructive technological advancement (mono-crop
agriculture, deforestation) and ethically sound technological responses
(planting trees is technically a “technical solution”)
• Accepts the risk factor associated with any new technology/science
(i.e., that it has some unforeseeable side effect or that it will be
misused by bad greedy people)
o Without some sort of technological option like the
renewable fuels from Lewis/Nocera systems, the only
possible responses to the carbon emission problem are to
completely abandon our current lifestyles that run on fuel
(low on rhetorical appeal) or to do nothing (imminent
destruction)
o Weaknesses of the previous options (on their own):
â–ª Hardin
Wangari Maathai, Unbowed (New York, Anchor Books – A Division of Random House Inc., 2007), 173-174.
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HIST 336 Outline
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economic ethics are the root of the problem – in the long run,
maintaining them seems likely to lead to different, equally
problematic situations
▪ Leopold’s “Ecological Conscience”
• Not so different from Wangari Maathai’s “personal responsibility”,
but not urgent/desperate enough
o in terms of how much there is to lose if we ignore the
chemistry that Nocera and Lewis have developed in favor
of continuing to burn fossil fuels, we are all on the brink of
“poor”
o Limitations
â–ª could be an example of an ethical system based on guilt, which Hardin
argues (convincingly) doesn’t work practically
• but, it’s more than guilt – more about fear (a problematic but
effective rhetoric)
What do I do myself?
o I am in the process of applying to graduate schools to pursue a Ph.D. in inorganic
chemistry for energy-related catalysis; in one of these programs, I will aim to
work on a project supported by an industrial partnership, which streamlines the
fundamental chemistry research → industrial implementation track
o Equally importantly, I will bring up Nocera’s and Lewis’s alternative fuel options
as often as possible in conversations with my family and friends. I believe that the
only way to convince people that climate change is real and to normalize science
as a relevant solution is to talk about it.
▪ for example, a few weeks ago I told my little sister’s boyfriend (a recent
high school graduate from rural, conservative Southeast Kansas who
thinks about absolutely nothing besides sports) about the UN report on
climate change. First he cried, then he registered to vote. There is hope.
Conclusion
o Professors Nate Lewis and Dan Nocera have developed scientifically sound
chemical systems for renewable fuel production, but their lukewarm reception is
indicative of the lack of urgency that the current global society feels about
anthropogenic climate change. This sluggishness is the result of an ethical system
driven by the economy paired with the negative reputation that multiple groups
have placed on science and technology. The Environmentalism of the Poor
represented by Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement provides a model for an
ethical system to combat this status quo. It is founded on “personal responsibility”
as a response to immediate, first-hand danger, and it emphasizes spreading ideas
and practices as an individual obligation. All the tools exist; we have to stop
procrastinating and use them.
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HIST 336 Outline
Bibliography
“A Bionic Leaf Could Help Feed the World.” American Chemical Society. 3 April 2017.
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2017/april/bionic-leaf-could-helpfeed-the-world.html.
Hardin, Garrett. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Science 162, (1968): 1243-1248.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Global Warming of 1.5oC.” United Nations.
October 2018. http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.
Kahan, Dan; Braman, Donald; Jenkins-Smith, Hank. “Cultural Cognition of Scientific
Consensus.” Journal of Risk Research 14, (2011): 147-174.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac: and Sketches Here and There. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1949.
Liu, Chong; Colon, Brendan C.; Ziesack, Marika; Silver, Pamela A.; Nocera, Daniel G. “Water
Splitting–Biosynthetic System with CO2 Reduction Efficiencies Exceeding
Photosynthesis.” Science 352, no. 6290 (2016): 1210-213.
Maathai, Wangari. Unbowed. New York: Anchor Books – A Division of Random House Inc.,
2007.
Martin, Richard. “The Road to Solar Fuels Hits a Speed Bump.” MIT Technology Review. 16
June 2016. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601692/the-road-to-solar-fuels-hits-a-speedbump/.
McKibbon, Bill. “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” The Rolling Stone. 19 July 2012.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math188550/.
McMahon, Jeff. “Harvard Inventor Slams New Energy Finance, Blames Universities.” Forbes.
29 May 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2016/05/29/harvard-inventor-slamsnew-energy-finance-blames-universities/#7e63cb352ef1.
McMahon, Jeff. “Harvard Scientist Engineers a Superbug that Inhales CO2, Produces Energy—A
Bionic Leaf.” Forbes. 29 May 2016.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2016/05/29/harvard-scientist-engineers-a-superbugthat-inhales-co2-produces-energy/#4cadc6637944.
Temple, James. “California to Trump: We’ll Fund Clean Energy if You Won’t.” MIT
Technology Review. 13 June 2017. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/608083/california-totrump-well-fund-clean-energy-if-you-wont/.
White, Lynn. “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis.” Science 155, no. 3767 (1967): 12031207.
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EVRN 336
Final Paper Outline
“Principles Under Pressure: An ethical analysis of hydraulic fracturing in the US Midwest”
I. Introduction:
A. Modern hydraulic fracturing had its start in Southwest Kansas, and now 60 years later,
Kansas and other states throughout the US mid-west are continuing to see the negative
results of fracking; and what’s worse is they are growing. The aim of this paper is to
examine and discuss the presence and effects of hydraulic fracturing in the US mid-west
and the ethics shaping it. I will argue that the ideas from Western Christianity and
Western conceptions of nature as well as a prioritization of economic ethics support the
continuation of the use of fossil fuel energy sources and fracking in particular. (Note: in
the context of this essay “economic” refers to the pecuniary aspects of society and the
business of money, despite its other larger and more complex applications.) Pulling
primarily on ideas from Aldo Leopold’s The Land Ethic but supplementing the ideal he
promotes with a more anthropocentric perspective I will explore possibilities to address
the problems associated with fracking.
B. Statement of environmental problem
1. Description and origins of hydraulic fracturing, (What is the problem?)
a) Beginnings of hydraulic fracturing in Southwest Kansas; first experimental drills in
Grant County KS in 19471,
b) history traceable as far back as 1862 and the Civil War; explosive artillery shells
fired into a canal blocking the battlefield; Edward Roberts and the patents for
technology 1865 and 18662
c) Commercial hydraulic fracturing; utilisation of non-explosive liquids, modern
technology born in the 1940s; Floyd Farris and Stanolind Oil and Gas in 1947,
leads to the first fracking experiments
d) Description of Grant County example, (include a photo?): injection of 1,000
gallons of gasoline and sand into shale gas producing limestone settlement, gelbreaker injection, failed experiment in terms of inciting a production increase, but
catalyst for the research and expansion of the science of modern-day hydraulic
fracturing technology
e) 1990 shale gas boom: 1.6% of total US natural gas production in 2000, 4.1% in
2005, and 23.1% in 20103, concurrent with fall in coal industry
(1) US government supports and subsidizes natural gas industry and related
research, incentive pricing and tax cuts (potentially supplemental?)
f) George P. Mitchell, “father of fracking”, and Mitchell Energy, 1997, new
horizontal drilling techniques— vertical drilling plus horizontal fracturing— aide
the proliferation of fracking across the US4
2. Environmental impacts, briefly addressed, (Why the problem is worth examining?)
a) Water contamination:
1
Manfreda, John. “The origin of fracking actually dates back to the Civil War,” Business Insider,
April 14, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-history-of-fracking-2015-4
2
Ibid.
3
Wang, Zhongmin and Krupnick, Alan. “US Shale Gas Development: What led to the boom?”
Resources for the Future, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2017.
http://www.rff.org/files/sharepoint/WorkImages/Download/RFF-IB-13-04.pdf
4
Gertner, Jon. “The lives they lived: George Mitchell, Father of Fracking,” New York Times
Magazine. December 21, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/news/the-lives-theylived/2013/12/21/george-mitchell/
(1) potential for drinking-water contamination due to a lack of well-integrity
(a) Osborn et. al study: concentrations of methane in water 17 times higher in
68 homes proximal to the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania5
(2) Utilisation of over 50 different chemicals, according to the hydraulic fracturing
chemical disclosure registry6, their infiltration into groundwater systems and
runoff to surface water through “produced water” or “flowback water”7,
inadequate disposal and underground injection
(3) “approximately 30,000 class II injection wells are used to dispose of >2 billion
gallons of brine from oil and gas operations daily in states such as Texas,
California, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, and Ohio”8
b) Air pollution:
(1) emission of pollutants at each stage of the operation, requirement of higher
well density in order to maintain production levels leads to an increase in
emission instances; drilling can continue for decades, continual emissions9
(2) methane emissions more potent greenhouse gas than CO210, data and
research from NOAA and Gaby Petron11 show higher leak rates than reported
and than “safe”
c) potential induced seismicity, not a lot of existing evidence, need for additional
research, but important to address the possibility of causality12
C. Actors, places, and institutions (Who are the main actors and places associated with the
problem?)
1. Actors and institutions
a) big oil companies and NGOs involved in fracking: Koch brothers funding, Exxon
Mobil, Chevron Corp, Conoco, etc.
b) grassroots organizations, many exist but few are active in Kansas
(1) Americans Against Fracking coalition, “Stop the Frack Attack” (advisory
council comprised mostly of members from midwest states), affiliated with 50
other organizations including the Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance,
Greenpeace, EcoWatch, Food and Water Watch the Clean Air Council, and
International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative 13
c) federal and state government, EPA: subsidies discussed before, legislation and
regulation14
5
Jackson et. al. “The Environmental Costs and Benefits of Fracking.” Annual Review of
Environment and Resources 39 (August 11, 2014): 327-611. Accessed February 10, 2017.
Annual Reviews Sciences Collection. p. 341
6
“What Chemicals Are Used.” 2017. Accessed February 12, 2017.
https://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used.
7
Jackson et. al. p. 342
8
ibid
9
ibid p. 346
10
ibid p. 342
11
Shorgren, Elizabeth. “Fracking’s Methane Trail: A Detective Story” heard on Morning Edition,
NPR News, May 12, 2012. Accessed April 1, 2017.
12
Jackson et. al. p. 346
13
“Who We Are,” Stop the Frack Attack. Accessed April 3, 2017.
http:/www.stopthefrackattack.org/who-we-are/
14
Twomey, Daniel F., Rosemarie Feuerbach Twomey, Christine Farias, Gerard Farias, and
Drew L. Harris. “Fracking: Blasting the Bedrock of Business.” Journal of Competitiveness
2. Places
a) Although hydraulic fracturing occurs globally, the United States has seen the
biggest impact. This paper will focus on the US and more specifically the US
midwest where a large percentage of US fracking takes place.
D. Efforts made to address the problem
1. movements to renewable energy sources, Bill: American Renewable Energy and
Efficiency Act of 2013
2. grassroots organizations (see above)
3. Civil disobedience and non-violent protest
a) Fracking in the Flint Hills, proposed well site in Morris Country KS near Burdick
and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, application filed on January 5th
2017, since then more than 20 letters of protest from opposed citizens concerned
about health and environmental impacts, awaiting public hearing15
b) Anti-fracking protestors in Maryland arrested for blocking State House entrance
four days before the day on which the a bill to ban fracking was set to cross
between chambers, two senators were present at the demonstration to support
the efforts of the activists
E. Concepts of nature creating and contributing to the problem
1. Separation of man and nature, nature/wilderness as discussed by Cronan,(“Getting
back to the wrong nature”)16 This provides a separation from the problem and a lack
of general knowledge of potential consequences as a result
2. Consider the ideology of Descartes17 as a concept of nature, because animals
cannot express reasoned thought they are therefore machines of which man is
entitled to serve in whatever manner he choose without fear of moral consequence;
the treatment of the environment in the process of hydraulic fracturing is an
extension of his mechanized view of animals…
3. Natural theology and western christianity: From the perspective of western
christianity, support provided by Laudoto Si 18and Lynn White, 19 man has a
responsibility to act with morality towards all living things and protect those who
cannot protect themselves— in this case the natural environment threatened by
fracking. But, this moral obligation comes not from an acknowledgement of the
intrinsic value of the natural world, but rather from the use it could serve to man.
Studies 24, no. 3 (2016): 107-20. Accessed February 10, 2017. Business Source Complete.
p.109
15
Wagoner, Jesse, “Fracking the Flint Hills?,” Emporia Gazette (Emporia, KS), March 24, 2017.
Accessed April 1, 2017. http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/article_e6daaf12-9090-5a23a92bb642a0b237d4.htmlutm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=usershare
16
Cronon, William. “The Trouble with Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” (1995).
in Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van
Anglen, KP. New Haven and London: Yale Univesity Press.
17
Armstrong, S.J. and Bottler R.G., Environmental Ethics: Divergence and Convergence.
“Animals are Machines,” René Descartes. (New York: McGraw-Hill), 1993, 281-285)
18
Holy Father Francis, “Laudato SI on Care for Our Common Home” Vatican Press. May 14,
2015.
19 19
White, Lynn, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,” Science 155:3767 (March 10,
1967), p 1203-1207). American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Again consider animals as an example this time as explained by Kant20; the
treatment of animals is not morally reprehensible because of the harm it does to the
animal, but because it might catalyse a transition to the mistreatment of men. In
sum, western christianity places humans as superior to nature and therefore
contributes to, if not the creation then definitely the continuation of hydraulic
fracturing and its associated consequences.
F. Identification and analysis of ethical systems and social dynamics contributing to the
problem
1. two distinct schools of thought: economic and environmental, economic mindset
contributes to the problem
a) Economic benefits of fracking—lower the overall cost of natural gas worldwide,
make the US energy independent, kickstart and/or support existing economies
example of Erie Colorado21
(1) ““Oil and gas drilling is part of our town,” said Erie Mayor Tina Harris””22
(2) “Erie, where the drilling boom and the housing boom are meeting head-on.”23
b) Economic argument is shaped by an anthropocentric ethic and instrumentalist
view of nature: nature being valued as a means to an end, for what it provides to
humanity (shale gas—> energy source), entitlement of man and consideration of
the immediate consequences of a shift away from fossil fuels to renewable
energy on the economy rather than a longterm view of benefits.
c) This viewpoint is also fueled by the age of affluence in the United States, present
since the end of the second world war; Consider Hardin’s Lifeboat ethic’s
(1) “we cannot safely divide the wealth equitably among all present peoples…”
and “the concept of pure justice produces and infinite regress. The law long
ago invented statutes of limitations to justify the rejection of pure justice in the
interest of preventing massive disorder”24
(a) Because he has an economic perspective and not an environmental
perspective the fact that he lives in an affluent Western country allows
him, and others holding this ethic, to separate themselves from the reality
of the problem.
II. Ethical Argument Segment
A. Concepts of nature that have been and could be the basis for efforts to address the
problem
1. Biocentric view of nature, inclusion of man in a system, promote understanding of
interdependence and connectedness of system. Ideology of Eastern Religions25
a) “No sharp line can be drawn between natural ecosystems and those that are not
natural”26
20
Kant, Immanuel. “Duties towards Animals and Spirits,” and “Duties Towards Particular
Classes of Human Beings” Lectures on Ethics.(New York: Harper & Row Publishers) 1963, 238245.
21
Jaffe, Mark. “Drilling rigs and housing development face off in Colorado suburbs,” The Denver
Post (Denver, CO) February 13, 2015. Updated April 24, 2016. Accessed April 3, 2017.
http://www.denverpost.com/2015/02/13/drilling-rigs-and-housing-development-face-off-incolorado-suburbs/.
22
ibid
23
ibid
24
Hardin, Garrett. “Living on a Lifeboat.” Bioscience 24:10 (October 1974) : 561-568. Oxford
University Press and American Institute of Biological Sciences. p. 567
25
White, Lynn.
b) Support the understanding that “nature” cannot be divided nor contained,
boundaries do not exist in nature like they do in politics and regulation, putting
bright line leak rates for methane at shale-gas mine sites is not effective
c) “there lies a deeper meaning, known only to the mountain itself. Only the
mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf”27
2. Value in nature’s wildness, not necessarily its wilderness
a) “Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns
and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps”28
b) “A town is saved not more by righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps
around it”29
(1) Trying to control nature is to no avail. Consider also the series of paintings by
Thomas Cole, “no free lunch,” nature will have the last word
c) “Life consists with wildness.”& “In wildness is the preservation of the world”30
III. Corresponding ethical stances and bases for efforts to address the problem
A. Philosophy that shapes the social and theoretical framework for what is acceptable
action in society
B. The economic perspective towards fracking provides for its continuation, but an
environmental perspective could be used to address this problem and the myriad
consequences that result from it.
1. Leopold’s A/B cleavage31
C. Key ethical stance to address fracking— Nash and his Ethical extension32 and Leopold’s
Land Ethic 33
1. encourage humility, vulnerability, and respect
a) Shift the role of humans from conquerors to citizens, (A/B again) develop a
community instinct and enlarge the boundaries of our community (à la Nash)
b) respect towards land, but also respect towards indigenous cultures and their
knowledge of the land
2. encourage self-possession and action, seek first to understand before acting,
examples of seeking to understand: Leopold “Great Possessions”, Thoreau “Walden
Pond”
IV. Ethical Stance Endorsed
A. I endorse all the above mentioned ethics and perspectives of nature, but overall I think
adopting Leopold’s Land Ethic is the most effective option in hopes of addressing the
issues of and related to fracking. The ethics that have been used thus far are limited in
their anthropocentrism. Anthropocentric ethics are not without value and are not
26
Taylor, Paul. “Environmental Ethics and Human Ethics” Respect for Nature: A Theory of
Environmental Ethics. (New Jersey: Princeton University Press).
27
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. (New York: Oxford
University Press). 1949.
28
Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking” and “Walden” (1862). in Environment: An Interdisciplinary
Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van Anglen, KP. New Haven and London:
Yale Univesity Press. p. 286
29
ibid
30
ibid
31
Leopold, Aldo.
32
Nash, Roderick. “The Value of Wilderness” (1977). in Environment: An Interdisciplinary
Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van Anglen, KP. New Haven and London:
Yale Univesity Press.
33
Leopold, Aldo.
necessarily contradictory to our biocentric Land Ethic, but they fall short in the consistent
prioritization of the human “man at the center”. We can use the Land Ethic as presented
by Leopold to increase our understanding of the connections in our environment, both
natural and social, but we can reinforce this ethic by adopting the strengths of
anthropocentrism. For example, human health will be prioritized based on our
anthropocentric ethic, but our land ethic will dictate that human wealth is not a priority.
Directly adopting a land ethic in its most pure form, as Leopold intended it is not only
unrealistic, but I would argue, impossible. While I agree with most if not all of what
Leopold argues, the system he presents has a utopique aspect; in our current society it
will be more practical to ease into this ideology with capitulated shifts in rhetoric and
explanation of the goals therein associated.
V. Actions against the problem
A. In this example of hydraulic fracturing it is important to address the root of the problem—
the accepted ethics of society towards the environment and nature. In order to affect a
change on must focus on the systems, not the symptoms. Fracking is a symptom of a
broken ethical system regarding energy just as climate change is. Therefore, rather than
addressing each symptom as separate and unique we as environmentalists and
concerned global citizens need to reform our argument to address the systematic
societal structures shaping our ethics and behavior. This is not to say, however, that
individual problems should not be addressed; they should, but we should never lose
sight in our arguments that the accepted ethical standard creates and nourishes
environmental problems such as fracking, climate change, water pollution, etc. However
small this response may be, this is what I try to do in my day-to-day life: analyze
environmental news and information presented to me and determine the ethical
perspectives shaping it, address its shortcomings, and engage in discourse with those
who hold different ethical perspectives to better understand and combat the symptoms
of our current society’s ethic. The goal is to promote a more biocentric and land-based
ethic in regard to environmental issues.
VI. Conclusion
A. In addressing the process and effects of hydraulic fracturing and briefly analyzing the
possible ethical stances which shape its support we discover that the problems
associated with fracking are in fact a representation of the problems of society’s current
ethical system. In order to enact a shift towards a healthier, more inclusive global
society I suggest the adoption of Leopold’s Land Ethic but with the addition of
anthropocentric perspectives relative the importance of human health and equal access
to resources and benefits. It is important to support renewable energy sources, but it is
even more important to change one’s ideology and ethics and to promote others to do
the same.
Bibliography
Armstrong, S.J. and Bottler R.G., Environmental Ethics: Divergence and Convergence. “Animals
are Machines,” René Descartes. (New York: McGraw-Hill), 1993, 281-285.
Cronon, William. “The Trouble with Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” (1995). in
Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van
Anglen, KP. New Haven and London: Yale Univesity Press.
Ed Andrieski , “Kansas tightens fracking restrictions,” The Kansas City Star, August 11, 2016, ,
accessed February 11, 2017,
http://www.kansascity.com/news/state/kansas/article95006477.html.
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University Press and American Institute of Biological Sciences.
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2015.
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Francis O’Sullivan, and Gabrielle Pétron. “The Environmental Costs and Benefits of
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Accessed February 10, 2017. Annual Reviews Sciences Collection.
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of Human Beings” Lectures on Ethics.(New York: Harper & Row Publishers) 1963, 238245.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. (New York: Oxford
University Press). 1949.
Manfreda, John. “The origin of fracking actually dates back to the Civil War,” Business Insider,
April 14, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-history-of-fracking-2015-4
Nash, Roderick. “The Value of Wilderness” (1977). in Environment: An Interdisciplinary
Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van Anglen, KP. New Haven and
London: Yale Univesity Press.
Shorgren, Elizabeth. “Fracking’s Methane Trail: A Detective Story” heard on Morning Edition,
NPR News, May 12, 2012. Accessed April 1, 2017.
Taylor, Paul. “Environmental Ethics and Human Ethics” Respect for Nature: A Theory of
Environmental Ethics. (New Jersey: Princeton University Press).
Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking” and “Walden” (1862). in Environment: An Interdisciplinary
Anthology ed. Adelson, G, Engell, J, Ranalli, B and Van Anglen, KP. New Haven and
London: Yale Univesity Press.
Twomey, Daniel F., Rosemarie Feuerbach Twomey, Christine Farias, Gerard Farias, and Drew
L. Harris. “Fracking: Blasting the Bedrock of Business.” Journal of Competitiveness Studies
24, no. 3 (2016): 107-20. Accessed February 10, 2017. Business Source Complete.
Wagoner, Jesse, “Fracking the Flint Hills?,” Emporia Gazette (Emporia, KS), March 24, 2017.
Accessed April 1, 2017. http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/article_e6daaf12-90905a23a92bb642a0b237d4.htmlutm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user
-share
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“What Chemicals Are Used.” 2017. Accessed February 12, 2017.
https://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used.
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1967), p 1203-1207). American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“Who We Are,” Stop the Frack Attack. Accessed April 3, 2017.
http:/www.stopthefrackattack.org/who-we-are/
Factory Farming (Cows, Pigs, and Chickens) Note: Consider using Bentham and Descartes
for opinion portion if in need of more.
I.
II.
Intro:
a. The world we all live in is growing at an alarming rate. About 80 million people
per year are added to the globe, and about 7.4 billion people inhabit in total this
planet today. This means that we need plenty of oxygen, water, and food. We all
need these three things, amongst other things but, the people of the United States
like that last one more than we probably should. The average person eats about
120 pounds of red meat and poultry per year combined. In order to keep meat and
poultry relatively affordable for the people in the U.S., factory farming has
become a normal practice across different farming and animal producing
companies. This type of farming does not take the life of the animal into account,
just the end product that the animal has to offer, treating them more like objects
than actual beings. Companies such as Tyson Foods, Smithfield Foods, and even
Kentucky Fried Chicken have exploited the lives of millions of animals due to
this kind of farming. Many non-profit and animal rights groups have spoken out
heavily against this issue but it has been met with political actions that restrict
their power to change this epidemic. This issue has arisen because of
anthropocentric views on animals and nature. Humans have always eaten animals,
we are evolutionally developed to have a diet that includes meat, so raising
animals on a farm in a humane way to eat is not a new concept. What turns this
concept into an anthropocentric one is when the life of the animal is given no
priority; its only use to mankind is the meat it has to offer. When this happens,
animals are turned into machines for food and are treated as such. If a more
biocentric view was adopted in animal farming, then we would be able to
gravitate towards more humane ways of farming that produce healthier animals to
consume.
Research Part
a. Factory Farming (?’s 1&2)
i. “a system of rearing livestock using intensive methods, by which poultry,
pigs, or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions.”
99% of animals produced in the U.S. were from factory farms. ASPCA.
Produced 49.6 billion pounds of red meat last year in US.
1. Factory farming is not something that was developed in the 21st
century. Many believed that torture/mutilation led to more tender
meat and thicker/better meat. Page 460 The Better Angels of Our
Nature
2. “They undergo painful mutilations and are bred to grow
unnaturally fast and large for the purpose of maximizing meat, egg,
and milk production for the food industry” Farm Sanctuary.
Driven by profit. which focus on profit and efficiency at the
expense of animal welfare.” ASPCA
3. Puts “strain” on natural resources. “extreme amount of waste
created by raising so many animals in one place pollutes our land,
air, and water.” Farm Sanctuary Methane emitted from animals.
“infamous greenhouse gas” US factory farms produce more than 1
million tons of manure per day 3x amount generated by country’s
population. Deforestation- major driver, 70% of land formerly
supporting Amazon rainforests has been turned over to grazing.
4. Need to use antibiotics because of the amount of disease that is fast
spreading. These can go undigested in their urine and manure and
can contaminate crops and waterways. Can put human health at
risk. Higher illness rates if you live near industrial farm. Property
value goes down as well. Antibiotics used heavily (because of
widespread disease that spreads from being held in close captivity)
can lead to drug resistant bacteria. Farm Sanctuary
b. Who, where, and efforts made.
i. Tyson, Smithfield, ConAgra, Pilgram’s pride, KFC, Dominoes, etc. Utah,
MO, Iowa, North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas have Ag-gag laws.
Humane society of US, PETA, ASPCA, and mercy for animals. Ten large
companies produce more than 90% of the nations poultry
1. Tyson uses gestation crates, “rampant, unchecked animal abuse”
sear off beaks to prevent feather pecking from stress of
confinement. spurred anti-whistle blower legislation. Chickens and
Turkeys are exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law
that requires some animals to be rendered insensible to pain before
slaughter(farmsanctuary). Stop Factory Farms (Make this one
the last one before beginning to talk about states and efforts
made) 3rd one
2. Smithfield has been pledging to stop using crates since 2007 and
say they are going to stop by 2017. Space per chicken is slightly
larger than a sheet of letter size paper. Floors aren’t cleaned very
much, can lead to health problems for chickens. Average age of
chicken before slaughter is 42 days, still peeping. Huge because of
market weight. Firms like KFC buy their supply from factory
farms and refuse to buy from other suppliers (ConAgra and
Pilgrim’s Pride). Dominoes refused a request from Humane
Society of US. Stop Factory Farms 2nd one
3. Dept of Agriculture so short staffed it only sends one inspector.
Not allowed to hold evidence of animal abuse past 24 to 48 hours
before turning it over to authorities. Takes weeks to develop a
case. Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas account for 49% of all
American red meat produced last year. RollingStone 4th one
4. Ag-gag laws (give definition and examples) are in Montana, Utah,
North Dakota, Missouri, Good Ol’ Kansas, and Iowa (North
Carolina in Jan of 2016). “The Idaho law criminalized video or
audio recording of a farm without the owner’s consent and lying to
a farm owner to gain employment there to do an undercover
investigation.” NPR last one
5. ASPCA, Humane Society, most of the organizations I have
mentioned. Even Denver Law Professor Justin Marceau (fighting
III.
for violation of first amendment and equal protection clause).
Leading effort is to stop eating as much meat because lobbyists
have made it illegal/very difficult to go after these companies
legally. Gov’t isn’t doing anything about it. So these organizations
are turning to the people to get the word out to their retailers, etc.
Spreading the knowledge of factory farms. Stop Factory Farms
and AnimalFreedom.org 1st one
c. Concepts of nature that created/contributed to problem, ethical stances that have
created/contributed to problem.
i. Ethical/Social dynamics that have contributed to this problem.
1. Ethical stance that animals are nothing but machines (Descartes)
used for profit maximization. “assembly line that continually
pushes for more efficiency and more profit. Where the lives of
individual creatures matter less than the dollars and cents that
define their worth. No animal is spared if it can be squeezed to
produce a profit.” Stop Factory Farms
2. There isn’t enough space for livestock to support a growing
population. Land has already been cleared of wildlife and used for
other human purposes (antrho) such as agriculture and suburbia
and national parks/forests. Growing pop makes free range farming
impractical. Doesn’t make sense to clear land to put countless
livestock on land closely that only endure pain for our gain.
Candobetter.net tie this one into #4
3. Concepts of nature: animals and nature were made for us. (Pinker
pg 458) “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of
the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the Earth”
Genesis 1:28 “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for
you” Genesis 9:2-3 Humans think that we are entitled to all the
things we exploit in nature. Also our natural need/want for meat
built into our evolutionary progress. The Better Angels of Our
Nature
4. The growing population and significance of ignorance is bliss. As
the population grew, normal small and local farms vanished and
were replaced by big corporations. From 50’ to 80’ farms w/cows
fell from 3.65 million to 278,000. 2001 only 92,000 such farms
exist. 99.9% of chickens, 97% of chicken eggs, 99% of turkeys,
95% of pigs, and 78% of cows are from factory farming today.
Controlled by 3-5 companies. Factory-farming.com
Thought Part
a. Concepts of nature that have/could be(en) the basis for efforts to address problem
and corresponding ethical stances. (7 & 8)
i. Anthropocentric view that needs to be more biocentric, => Bible verses
again. (Religion)
1. This grant seems to have been taken as doing what we please
w/animals instead of a stewardship where “humans are responsible
to their Lord for the proper care and use of what has been placed in
their custody.” (Dominion vs stewardship) The new animal
liberation movement (Singer & Pinker) the fact that humans are
rational and can feel pain and can suffer. What about babies, b/c of
potential in future they are given more rights. “Whatever the test
we propose as a means of separating human from non-human
animals, it is plain that if all non-human animals are going to fail
it, some humans will fail as well. Infants are neither rational nor
autonomous. They do not use language and they do not possess a
sense of justice.” (use this as an idea more than a quote)
Speciesism. Singer Ethics and the New Animal Liberation
Movement.
2. More Biocentric view would equate the lives of animals and
humans. Treating them as equals is something that humans have
done, all over in past and now. We have added more “groups” to
the protection circle (civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights) so
why can’t we put animals in there too. Lives of Animals
ii. Then vs. Now (culture and animal liberation movement)
1. Killing animals for food is a human condition, ancestors have done
it for a while. Evolutionally made to have meat in diet. Makes us
happy. Animals were clockwork to Descartes, cries of pain were
output of a noisemaker, warning buzzer on a machine. Animal
liberation began in 18th and 19th cent. Part of the Humanitarian
Revolution=> ban on horse abuse, met with laughter and joking
that would spread to dogs and cats and it did within 2 decades.
(British Parlaiment 1821) this spread (vegetarianism) but lost
momentum in 20th b/c of WWII=> created meat hunger=> factory
farms began, people didn’t think about where the cheap meat came
from b/c of great demand for meat after war. FF brought to light in
64 in UK by Ruth Harrison Animal Machines P. Singer’s Animal
Liberation was bible for movement. Argument for a full
consideration of the interests of animals not the same as granting
them rights. Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature
2. Cutting and cooking of animals while alive was/is a common
practice in some cultures (Asian, Hopi, Native Americans) Roman
and Greeks (Aristotle) “plants are created for the sake of animals,
and the animals for the sake of man.”=> Greek scientists took this
full tilt and would dissect live animals. Method of tenderization
PG 460 The Better Angels of Our Nature. Millennia-old practices
are indifferent to animal suffering.
3. Now Western culture is starting to treat animals better than they
started off. Example of people owning pets worldwide, children
and animals. “They have to be taught that it is all right to kill and
eat them.” Veganism and organic/free range meat. Expensive, but
worth the animals not suffering. Tastes better. Not filled with
growth hormones. The Lives of Animals
b. Why ethical stance I endorse better than others discussed.
IV.
i. Agree with Peter Singer’s view, book considered the bible of animal
liberations movement. Giving animals equal rights wouldn’t make sense
b/c they can’t fully use them. Need to realize they are capable of pain and
suffering, treat them as beings just as we are. Culture is hardest part about
making the change, non-western culture sees no reason to change.
Practices like hunting, fishing, harpoons, whips, spurs, and heavy loads
and blood sports are things that will be hard to get rid of because of the
roots they have. Moralistic concern=> how other guy treats aniamals vs.
how we do can create one-upmanship=> blood sports for class warfare. Pg
462 & 463 for culture stuff. The Better Angels of Our Nature Cow county
example for equal view of animals and humans. Also lethal scientific
experiment on normal adult humans. Pg 4 and part of 5 about animal not
understanding what is happening. Ethics and the New Animal Liberation
Movement
c. Things I have done to combat this problem
i. The best thing anyone could do when dealing with a situation like this
would be to become vegan, but for me that isn’t an option because I can’t
not have bacon at least three or four times a week, but also because I don’t
have the time and effort needed to invest into a full vegan diet. Instead
what I am going to do is eat vegetarian/vegan at least once a week and try
to increase it to my liking. This way not only can I reduce my overall
contribution to these immoral companies but I can also increase my
awareness and knowledge of what foods and goods involve animals and
their well-being. Also, for the days that I do eat meat I will buy the
organic and/or traditionally raised meat from either a local farmers market
or a natural grocery store. Although this may cost me more money, I think
the benefit of less animal pain and suffering is more than worth it.
Conclusion
a. Restate purpose from intro and key points in different words
b. Finish with future outlook on the problem and other positive material.
Bibliography
http://www.stopfactoryfarms.org/
http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/
http://www.animalfreedom.org
Solotaroff, Paul. “Animal Cruelty Is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat | Rolling Stone.” Rolling
Stone Magazine. December 10, 2013.
Runyon, Luke. “Judge Strikes Down Idaho ‘Ag-Gag’ Law, Raising Questions For Other States.”
NPR. August 4, 2015.
Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011)
Peter Singer, Ethics and the New Animal Liberation Movement (1975)
J. M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals (1999)

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