While climate change may be the elephant in the room, there are a number of environmental problems that are only somewhat less critical to the Interlock. One is the possibility that trace pollutants are behind some or all of the rapid growth in debilitating “first world” illnesses, and that we may find that, having allowed these compounds to disperse widely, we cannot easily afford to remove them. Another environmental issue with clear economic consequences is our increasingly depleted freshwater and marine ecosystems caused by overfishing, invasive species, and the huge amount of pollutants from runoff that cause “dead zones” in the ocean.
These are just two of the most obvious ones, but there are many more. Since the 70s, we’ve successfully controlled major environmental depredations to the point where most of our environmental issues are now intensely local ones, rather than regional- or national-scale afflictions.
However, as the BP disaster in the Gulf illustrated, this doesn’t mean that we can relax our vigilance on these things. Instead, we need to be more concerned with making sure that the general corporate culture in the US is more inclined towards preventing environmental incidents, rather than being willing to take risks and then pay to repair damages when accidents happen.
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