Wednesday, 17 November 2010
CASE 186 - Environments
The natural environment, encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:
Complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive human intervention, including all vegetation, microorganisms, soil, rocks, atmosphere and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries. Universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from human activity. The natural environment is contrasted with the built environment, which comprises the areas and components that are strongly influenced by humans. A geographical area is regarded as a natural environment (with an indefinite article), if the human impact on it is kept under a certain limited level (similar to section 1 above).
The social environment of an individual, also called social context or milieu, is the culture that he or she was educated and/or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts.
The interaction may be in person or through communication media, even anonymous or one-way, and may not imply equality of social status. Therefore the social environment is a broader concept than that of social class or social circle. Nevertheless, persons with the same social environment often develop a sense of solidarity; they often tend to trust and help one another, and to congregate in social groups. They will often think in similar styles and patterns even when their conclusions differ.
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, (including physics, chemistry, biology, soil science, geology, and geography) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Environmental science provides an integrated, quantitative, and interdisciplinary approach to the study of environmental systems. Related areas of study include environmental studies and environmental engineering. Environmental studies incorporates more of the social sciences for understanding human relationships, perceptions and policies towards the environment. Environmental engineering focuses on design and technology for improving environmental quality. Environmental scientists work on subjects like the understanding of earth processes, evaluating alternative energy systems, pollution control and mitigation, natural resource management, and the effects of global climate change. Environmental issues almost always include an interaction of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Environmental scientists bring a systems approach to the analysis of environmental problems. Key elements of an effective environmental scientist include the ability to relate space, and time relationships as well as quantitative analysis. Environmental science came alive as a substantive, active field of scientific investigation in the 1960s and 1970s driven by (a) the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to analyze complex environmental problems, (b) the arrival of substantive environmental laws requiring specific environmental protocols of investigation and (c) the growing public awareness of a need for action in addressing environmental problems. Events that spurred this development included the publication of Rachael Carson's landmark environmental book Silent Spring along with major environmental issues becoming very public, such as the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, and the Cuyahoga River of Cleveland, Ohio, "catching fire" (also in 1969), and helped increase the visibility of environmental issues and create this new field of study.
The US EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress. The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 3, 1970, after Nixon submitted a reorganization plan to Congress and it was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the president and approved by Congress. The current administrator is Lisa P. Jackson previous was Vince Cargill of the Cargill family. The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the administrator is normally given cabinet rank. The agency has approximately 18,000 full-time employees.
UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the government department responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in the United Kingdom. Concordats set out agreed frameworks for co-operation between it and the Scottish Government, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and with representatives from the Northern Ireland Assembly, which have devolved responsibilities for these matters in their respective nations. Defra also leads for the UK at the EU on agricultural, fisheries and environment matters and in other international negotiations on sustainable development and climate change, although a new Department of Energy and Climate Change was created on 3 October 2008 to take over the last responsibility. They were also the agency which introduced recycling in the UK, I feel recycling is very important, everyone should do it, but the local councils have made a business out of it and alot of the products to go to recycling plants dont actually reach them but rather go into a landfill site, like South kestevan council in 2009, was fined £50,000 (only £50,000) for dumping 5 million tons of recycling in a landfill but made a massive deal out of scaring the locals into recycling with snoopers in bins, microchips and other ways to keep an eye on people and their recycling habbits