In the 200 years since
the Industrial Revolution began, the environment has been
significantly altered as more nations industrialize and
increase their manufacturing capacity to meet consumer demands.
For example in
1997 according to World Watch, carbon dioxide emissions
in developed nations reached three tons per person, while
developing nations produced half a ton per person (Document
emissions can produce smog in concentrated areas, such as
Mexico City, one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Carbon dioxide can also form acid rain which can affect
areas far removed from the source of the pollution. For
example, pollution from areas of the United States has been
carried into southeastern Canada causing acid rain which
is detrimental to ecosystems and drinking water.
Carbon dioxide has also been linked to global warming which
can affect global weather patterns. Again, polluting nations
can have an effect on other nations as shown in the political
cartoon labeled Natures Equation which
illustrates that the devestation caused by Hurricane Mitch
can be attributed to global warming, most likely caused
by nations other than Honduras (Document 4).
modern development of nuclear energy has also had an impact
on the environment. In the 1980s, a Soviet nuclear power-generating
facility in Chernobyl had a meltdown. The prevailing winds
swept the nuclear fallout across all of western Europe causing
great concern for the health of the people in those nations.
The nations and corporations of the
world have recognized the detrimental effects of pollution
caused by industrialization, and are taking steps to address
it. According to
newspaper reports published by World Watch in 1997,
British Petroleum announced that it should increase its
investments in solar energy as an alternative to dependence
upon oil. Denmark has also investigated alternative energy
sources by using wind power and the combustion of agricultural
waste (Document 5). Greenpeace, an international environmental
and conservation organization, has pioneered the use of
Greenfreeze as an alternative to traditional refrigerants.
In 1997 Greenpeace disclosed at an environmental meeting
in Montreal, Canada, that Greenfreeze has proven to be ozone-
and climate-safe, and is being readied for use by factories
in India, Russia, and many other countries (Document 7,
Recycling efforts have also increased in many nations, reducing
the need for new consumable items, thereby decreasing pollution.
The global use of the automobile has
also caused a dramatic increase in environmental pollution.
published in World Watch state that the Japanese
auto company Toyota has developed a hybrid gasoline electric
car that is more fuel efficient and produced half the amount
of carbon dioxide as a conventional car (Document 5).
In the 1970s, the United States mandated the use of catalytic
converters for automotive exhaust systems, and other nations
are now following suit. These converters, when used in conjunction
with other emissions-control devices, limit the amount of
pollution produced by a vehicle.