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Environmental Skepticism in Scientific Community

The concept of science has always been considered detached and objective, representing the ultimate truth for the global community disregarding the ethnical, cultural, linguistic or geographical differences. Science reflects the laws of physics, nature and space that affect the human activity and exist without the possibility of human interference with them. However, the modern trends in the interpretation of scientific facts show that the humanity has adopted a range of diverse attitudes and interpretations of objective natural tendencies that affect the overall understanding of natural phenomena and shape the human activities accordingly.

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Science has become a detached, theoretical basis for practical interpretations that are at times unable to reflect the genuine state of affairs in the world, which makes it extremely hard to identify the true evidence of some phenomena, and to assess their genuine significance for the humanity.

One of such cases is the environmental debate taking place for several decades and coming to the forefront of discussions about the future of the Earth and life on it. The whole realm of environmental problems has been brought into the focus of human attention only about 10 years ago, and since then the scientific thought has divided into environmentalism and environmental skepticism, which shows the disparities even among theorists, let alone average citizens who have no expert knowledge to produce any first-hand judgments. The most widely spread viewpoint used to be the recognized negative impact of the human activity on the environment and natural equilibrium on the Earth.

There were several major dramatic effects outlined by ecologists, environmentalists, biologists and specialists from other related sciences. The attitude to those problems from the cautious point requiring action and preservation as well as from the skeptical point of view will be considered here as the examples of scientific objectivity and variability according to the situational context of discussion (American consumers lead the world in environmental skepticism).

There are seven severest environmental problems recognized by the scientific community all over the world. They are summarized in the article of Rogers as follows: animal extinction, the ocean dead zones, collapsing fish stock, destruction of the rainforest, polar sea ice loss, CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and population explosion (Rogers). The dramatic impact of those phenomena is far-reaching, and the ecological crisis is projected for the 21st century in case of neglect to the named issues.

For example, the animal extinction is inevitably leading to the changes in the Earth’s food chain, which may result in the further extinction of other species being consumed for food by predators left without those species they were traditionally fed by. In addition, the animal and plant extinction leads to another key drama: loss of natural diversity and uniqueness of the planet, which also shows the natural degradation caused by human beings. Collapsing of the fish stock may also be referred to the same category because it directly results from the human activity, namely the neglect to permissible tempos of fishing (Rogers).

However, the environmental skeptics may treat such degrading tendencies as a natural trend resulting from the depletion of all natural resources of the Earth not connected with the human activity, but only partly relating to it. As formulated by Jacques, Dunlap and Freeman, the key tool of skeptics is rejection of scientific literature and dismissal of scientific evidence of environmental problems (Jacques, Dunlap, and Freeman 350).

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The focus on species extinction therefore does not obtain any specific attention of skeptics and does not raise any reasons for caution because of their treatment of that trend as a natural evolutional process on the Earth.

Other problems of a clearly technological nature cannot help leading to conclusions about the human intrusion in the natural processes: they include the emergence and expansion of ocean dead zones that result from lack of oxygen and excess of nitrogen generated from the fertilizers, emissions of plants and factories as well as sewage emitted in the ocean water without observance of ecologically safe regulations (Rogers). The expansion of dead zones has been detected at a very quick pace since 1960s, which makes scientists draw parallels with the advancement of chemical, industrial and agricultural sectors of economy.

Carbon dioxide levels emitted into the atmosphere may also be categorized as the direct consequence of the human activity, since the larger share of this fatally harmful gas leading to the emergence of the greenhouse effect and global warming, is mostly produced by factories and plants, car emissions, the operation of refrigerators present in literally every dwelling on the Earth, as well as usage of deodorants. The evidence is too obvious that it leaves no space for dismissal of the gained scientific facts. Nonetheless, one can see how environmental skeptics have found the way out of that situation as well, disregarding the seemingly strong argumentation.

The debate over carbon dioxide and other industrial gas emissions and their impact on the planet’s atmosphere have also been treated by skeptics in a cynical and clearly anti-preservative way. The proponents of ecological cynics state that the accumulation of gases in the atmosphere is nothing more than a logical and natural environmental occurrence that has to be solved by the planet’s resources independently of the human intrusion.

The skeptics argue that the Earth has repeatedly implemented its self-cleaning resources in the course of history, supposing that they will be enacted again in the moment of the ecological crisis. The guesses about an ancient civilization that used to exist on the Earth millions of years ago, and its further extinction because of the irreparable harm to the nature only instigate such debates.

The skeptics genuinely believe that as soon as the Earth has no more ability to renew itself with the human presence, there will be a global disaster similar to prehistoric ones to clear the planet from the humanity and give it some time for renewal for some other civilization to come. However, nobody associates him- or herself with the civilization doomed to extinction; in other way the discussion of such a possibility would have never been so detached.

No matter how hard and unpleasant it is, one has to note the increasing skepticism in the most advanced and progressive countries of the world, namely the USA. The biggest minds of the world that can throw their effort on resolving the climatic crisis are more obsessed by the movement towards technological advancement and see the threat to Western technology in the ecological concerns and calls to action (Jacques, Dunlap, and Freeman 353).

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In addition, the American nation is seen as one of the most cynical ones in terms of ecology; only 62% of Americans truly believe that the ecological crisis is a reality, and the solution to the problems of the Earth is in their own hands (American consumers lead the world in environmental skepticism).

Ecological products are doubted in terms of their cost-efficiency and positive impact on the Earth’s environment; hence the implementation of green technologies is now not only the issue of environmental awareness but of marketing and cost optimization as well. Two out of three American consumers prefer to pay less instead of buying expensive green products, as they do not realize the potential of their contribution to the environmental preservation.

Despite the scientific facts outlined in all public sources, the counter-movement against environmentalism has managed to shape the scientific reality in a way to debate the alarming evidence, which makes it possible to make a conclusion that the objectivity of science may nowadays be contested for the sake of political, economic and other purposes of individuals.

Works Cited

American consumers lead the world in environmental skepticism. Green Gauge Global. 2010. Web.

Jacques, J. Peter, Dunlap, E. Riley, and Freeman, Mark. “The organization of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental skepticism”. Environmental Politics, Volume 17, Issue 3 (2008), pp. 349 – 385. Print.

Rogers, Stephanie. “7 Environmental Problems That Are Worse Than We Thought”. Earth First. 2010. Web.

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