The article entitled “The Case for Optimal Pollution” by William Baxter presents rather a novel view on the topical issue of environmental pollution with sufficient justification of the presented position and explanation of the reasons underlying the author’s views. Hence, the author claims that environmental pollution is such an extremely significant problem primarily due to its impact on human beings. Baxter’s approach to the solution of the issue complies with the basic principles of the free market and focuses on the scarcity of resources. Although many of his ideas may be deemed quite controversial, they are also highly logical and may prove to be useful in the process of finding solutions to the existing problem of environmental pollution.
One of the main ideas presented in the article under consideration is the author’s claim that environmental pollution requires a “people-oriented” approach and all observations about environmental problems should also be people-oriented (Baxter 275). Moreover, Baxter states that he has “no interest in preserving penguins for their own sake” (275). Under this people-oriented approach, environmental issues are nowadays viewed as a problem due to their direct impact on the life of human beings and a threat they pose to subsequent generations rather than their effect on some plants, animals, or parts of ecosystems. Of course, the author acknowledges that this approach may be called “very selfish”, yet it is inherent in human nature to think first and foremost about oneself and one’s personal being (Baxter 275). Undeniably, there are some true altruists who can reject this people-oriented view of the problem and try to save penguins for the sake of this species, which is an example used in the article, but such individuals are rare and should be regarded as an exception rather than a rule.
Besides, the author presents several justifications for the adoption of the people-oriented approach to environmental pollution. First of all, this approach is the only one that can turn out to be effective and efficient as it really complies with the way the overwhelming majority of people think and behave. Secondly, such attitude envisions the preservation of the environment to the extent people need it to be preserved, which means that it does not cause any harm. Thirdly, “what is good for humans is, in many respects, good for penguins and pine trees” (Baxter 275). This way, the author implies that people are an integral part of the global ecosystem and their well-being can ensure balance in the entire ecosystem from the environmental perspective. Fourthly, in Baxter’s opinion, such approach is the only known way of administering the system and solving the existing problem. Finally, the people-oriented approach may be reduced to a simple question of “What ought we to do?” that only people can answer to solve the problem of environmental pollution (Baxter 276). Therefore, the article argues for the adoption of the people-oriented approach since it cannot only benefit people who are the primary target of this research, but also the environment.
Overall, the article offers an interesting and novel perspective on how to treat the problem of environmental pollution that significantly deviates from philosophical musings about the moral obligation or some other duties to preserve the environment. I have never thought about the underlying cause of why some environmental issues raise more attention than others and about deeply integrated reasons behind these problems. Hence, it goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of contemporary environmental problems are anthropogenic, that is, they have been caused by the humanity and its activities. Therefore, the author’s suggestion to solve these issues from the perspective of orientation at people seems logical.
Furthermore, I agree completely with the author, especially in his discussion of why people need to save penguins, which may be substituted with any other species. Recently, I have read a newspaper article calling for action and support of testing some drugs on animals, primarily rats and primates. The activists organizing the campaign claim that these animals are subject to cruel treatment and unnecessary suffering, explaining why they advocate for their release from labs into some zoos or into the wild. On the one hand, I have been impressed by the article and its vivid depiction of poor animals suffering in captivity from injections and other experimental tests aimed at proving the efficiency of drugs. At once, I have wanted these animals to be freed considering experiments cruel and heartless. On the other hand, my position has changed after some consideration of the issue. The matter is that drugs cannot be approved for the use by people without all required prior tests on animals and they can become a death-and-life matter for some people in the future. Moreover, there is really no guarantee that these animals suffer as no detailed information about drugs and their impact has been provided by animal rights activists. Therefore, it may be supposed that these animals are given vitamins or some harmless drugs, while being well fed and groomed. Of course, the afore idea is a bit naïve and optimistic, yet it may turn out to be true just as statement that these animals are subject to inhumanely cruel treatment.
In any case, my thoughts about the situation with animals seem to prove Baxter’s idea about the people-oriented mode of thinking typical of people. I have not considered environmental issues in depth so far, but I can predict that my discussion of the problem will ultimately have its impact on people advising what they have to do to solve the issue. Therefore, the article may be considered as a thought-provoking and valuable literature source that encourages considering alternative approaches to existing problems, which may prove to be beneficial in the long run.
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