The future existence of all living and nonliving things found here on planet earth are dependent on how the environment is treated as a whole. As human beings, we have our own wants and needs, as well as our own hopes and dreams for the future. Our wants, needs, and dreams drive our actions and affect the ways in which we treat and interact with the environment around us. We have undoubtedly made countless accomplishments by using resources from the environment around us, yet we often fail to consider the possible consequences of our accomplishments. What one person sees as an accomplishment may be seen in a completely different light by someone else living nearby, or even across the globe. Since our actions effect our environment, and the environment affects us, environmental issues are relevant to us all. Drilling for oil is one issue which I personally find to be of great concern.
When we drill for oil, we are able to feed the needs of our oil based economy, which can be looked at as a good thing, as we are promoting a certain kind of economic growth. Despite the good that can come from drilling, however, I tend to find that the problems we are creating are far greater than the good we can benefit from. When we drill oil, we exploit the land, essentially making it beneficial for only one agenda; the agenda of the oil companies. While destroying the land beyond recovery, we also create pollution in the air we breathe and water we drink. I don’t know anyone who would choose to live in the toxic environment we are creating, over an environment free from pollution. I guess my concern lies in the fact that we tend to value growth, material goods, and economic success over the quality of our own lives and living environment.
Our textbook discusses several different assumptions of neoclassical economics, including the idea that economic growth is good. While certain aspects of this assumption may seem to make sense for business, the text also points out that continued growth requires resources. If we are concerned with making the best decisions for ourselves, the economy, and the environment, we should realize that the growth of the oil industry may not be in our best interests, as we are running out of the resources that allow this industry to thrive. To make an educated decision as to rather or not continued growth of oil drilling is beneficial to any part of our environment, we must consider what will happen when further growth is not a possibility.
To gain a better understand of the effects of oil drilling, or any other environmental concern for that matter, I find it helpful to take a look at actual events occurring around the world. Taking a look at the events in Alaska related to The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and attempts by The Prudehoe Bay Oil Development to turn the land into an oil drilling site, gave me a better understanding of why oil drilling concerns us all.
The Arctic Refuge is a vast stretch of land...