During the Industrial Revolution
During the Industrial Revolution the urbanization of cities and the rise in factories in the US contributed to environmental damage and the health hazards of humans through pollution. This quote, Industries discharged foul, sometimes toxic, solid, liquid, and gaseous wastes into the surrounding air, water, and land (Rosen, 565) tells us how unregulated factories expelled dangerous wastes into the ecosystem without being treated to be harmless. During the Industrial Revolution the lifestyle of Americans in the US changed and population growth made demands for products skyrocket, which caused problems to stemming from the use of factories and the living conditions of Americans. These problems affects both humans and the environment that they live on. These effects can be health problems and safety and serious damage to the environment.
These two quotes, Untreated human waste was a major hazard since it was not properly disposed of. In most cities, sewage was washed out into the streets where it found its way to the rivers, contaminating local water supplies (Olson, 29) and The unsanitary conditions in these overcrowded cities caused the water to be extremely polluted, resulting in an outbreak of the disease cholera (Harvard University, 2014) illustrated that cities whose population has skyrocketed weren’t managed efficiently and this caused major health problems such as serious diseases that had caused deaths and unsanitary resources such as water.
Transcendentalism was the idea that people should have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that “transcends”, or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch, or feel” (USHistory.org) A movement called Transcendentalism formed during the industrial revolution in response to environmental damage caused by industrialization and urbanization. They tried to preach to people that nature should be appreciated and that industrialization and urbanization caused cities and nature to be more separated. These are all contributions to environmental pollution and human health hazards. This links to us today as we still suffer from pollutions through different but similar problems that affects the environment and human health.
Today we suffer from pollutions caused by the large consumption of fossil fuels as a source of energy for the modern world. The types of fossil fuels used are Oil, Coal. and Natural Gases. The United States requires a lot of energy to run and currently 80% of that energy comes from dangerous fossil fuels as shown in this quote, today, oil, coal, and gas provide for about 80 percent of our energy needs. (Denchak). The extraction of fossil fuels contribute to the intensive damage done to the environment. There are different types of methods that are used to extract these fossil fuels; such as drilling on land or at sea, horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and mining.
All of these methods contribute to pollution but hydraulic fracturing is by far the most harmful to the environment explained by Denchak in this quote, Fracking involves blasting huge quantities of water mixed with chemicals and sand deep into a well, at pressures high enough to fracture rock and enable the oil or gas to escape. This controversial method of extraction creates a host of environmental and health problems, including air and water pollution. (Denchak). Industries typically leave the land – where these fossil fuels are extracted from – permanently damaged by blasting chemical into the ground with fracking as well as installing large infrastructures on large portions of land for the many steps it takes to bring the fossil fuels to the market for consumption. Unearthing, processing, and moving underground oil, gas, and coal deposits take an enormous toll on our landscapes and ecosystems.
The fossil fuel industry leases vast stretches of land for infrastructure such as wells, pipelines, access roads, as well as facilities for processing, waste storage, and waste disposal (Denchak). Along with land degradation we also have water pollution coming from chemical runoffs and fracking. Chemicals can contaminate the ecosystem and damage wildlife in that process and also contaminate the water used for cities and towns causing people to suffer health issues that could kill them. Coal, oil, and gas development pose myriad threats to our waterways and groundwater. Coal mining operations wash acid runoff into streams, rivers, and lakes and dump vast quantities of unwanted rock and soil into streams. (Denchak). Even after extraction there is still another layer of pollution that stems from the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels generally release carbon dioxide as a form of byproduct after using it.
Overtime these gases are released into the atmosphere causing global warming which affects all life on the planet and also higher levels of carbon in the air which will cause health issues when people breathe in the air. Fossil fuels produce large quantities of carbon dioxide when burned. (Denchak). At least 12.6 million Americans are exposed to these toxic air pollution everyday because of our use in fossil fuels.. some 12.6 million Americans are exposed daily to toxic air pollution (Denchak). This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as the negative outcome outweighs the energy we get from them. The longer we stay dependant on fossil fuels the more irreversibly damaged the environment becomes, eventually causing mass extinction of life on the planet and causing significant health problems to the public. The US Government has addressed this problem by passing policies and regulations on pollution such as the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act had successfully reduced 60% of gas emissions from factories between 1990 and 2008 sourced from, The study, forthcoming in the American Economic Review, found that polluting emissions from U.S. manufacturing fell by 60 percent between 1990 and 2008 (UC Berkeley). This is a good step towards reducing pollution because it was able to reduce more than half the gas pollution coming from factories while factories and mass productions were increasing in significant rates. Along with regulations being put in place, newer technology also contributed to the decrease in emissions. primarily because manufacturers adopted cleaner production methods in tandem with increasingly strict environmental regulation. (UC Berkeley). This connects to the industrial revolution because during that time there were limited regulations put in place to reduce the pollution coming from factories, but now at least 60% of those emissions are now reduced with the help of new regulations and policies along with better technology.
A solution that could help reduce the usage of fossil fuels is to encourage the use of renewable energy such as energy generated from natural forces (e.g. wind and water), and solar energy. These renewable energy are already being used but it only makes up a minority of energy generated due to it being more expensive for other methods. Because fossil fuels are cheaper most industries are enticed to use them over renewable energy to cut down on costs and increase profits. Another reason why fossil fuels are picked over renewable energy is that the industries generate a ton of profit as long as there’s still resources left on the planet.
What people can do is to install solar panels on top of homes, not only will this reduce the use of fossil fuels, it can also save money for people over time. Another way we can improve this issue is to enforce policies to restrict heavy use of fossil fuels on industries that relies primarily on fossil fuels. One last way we can also reduce pollution is to encourage the research and construction of electric cars since cars are one of the major consumptions of petroleum or oil. As a society we don’t have to pay much because if the fossil fuel industry falls, a new and improved renewable industry will be created. In most cases switching to renewable energy can save people some money as well. The common people, government, and businesses needs to acknowledge that our planet can only last for so long at the rate of our consumption and find better ways to find energy. The biggest hurdle will be convincing large industries to use renewable resources at the cost of their profits and replacing all existing gas vehicles with electric ones.