ZeePedia buy college essays online


Introduction to Sociology

<<< Previous ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension Next >>>
 
img
Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 41
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY
What is the relationship between environment and society? What kinds of impact do human groups make
upon the planet? How have environmental (or ecological) limits shaped human behavior, cultural practices
and social institutions? What do developments in science and technology, economic practice and
government policy tell us about the changing forms of nature-society relationships? These are some of the
questions that germinate discussions about issues pertaining to environment-society relationships.
Environment: Stems from the French world viron, meaning a circle, a round, or the country around. Hence
environment means the external conditions and influences affecting the life of an organism, or entire
societies, or the "physical and biotic infrastructure" supporting populations of all kind. In this way
environment is the total physical and material bases of all life, including land, air, water, and the vital
material resources and energy in which societies are embedded. It may be called natural environment.
Natural environment: The earth's surface and atmosphere, including living organisms, air, water, soil, and
other resources necessary to sustain life.
Environment serves three distinct functions for societies:
 Provides our home, or the space in which we conduct our activities (living space);
 Supplies us with the resources that are necessary for living (supply depot); and
 Acts as a `sink' for absorbing the waste products of modern industrial societies (waste repository).
These three functions may compete with each other.
Because of increase in population and the related activities:
 There is substantially more conflict between the three functions,
 The total human demand or `load' may be exceeding the long-term carrying capacity of both
specific areas and even of the global ecosystem.
Ecology: The study of interaction of living organisms and the natural environment. Like any other species,
humans depend on the natural environment. But it is the humans who have the culture. With the
development of culture human beings transform the environment, for better or worse. Where human
beings have put nature to its service, the whole process has germinated problems of solid waste, pollution,
global warming, biodiversity, etc. Who created all this? Obviously these are the results of human actions.
Hence one looks at some of the fundamental social issues like: What "the environment" means to people?
How do the meanings (thoughts, hopes, fears) change? How human social patterns put mounting pressure
on the environment?
Global Dimension:
Planet is a single eco-system. Echo is `house', which reminds us that this planet is our home and that all
living things and their natural environment are interrelated. It is a system composed of the interaction of all living
organisms and their natural environment. Such inter-connectedness means that changes in any part of the natural
environment ripple through the entire global ecosystem. For example, ozone is a layer in the atmosphere
that restricts the entry of harmful ultraviolet radiation. As a result of environmental changes it is in the
depletion process.
Historical Dimension:
How have people gained the power to threaten the natural environment? Human beings have the capacity
to develop culture. Continuously the technology is being improved. Human beings have moved from
hunting societies to pastorals, to agriculturists, to industrial society and to post industrial society. In this
process of development it has been seen that humans consume natural resources and release pollutants.
Can we say that man has been bending nature? In this process the role of rich countries has been crucial.
They produce 1000 times more goods than the poor nations. Raise the standard of living produce more
solid waste and pollution.
Where there are material benefits of technology there are negative effects on the environment like:
109
img
Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Running an environmental deficit: A profound and negative long-term harm to the natural environment caused by
humanity's focus on short-term material affluence. The concept of environmental deficit is important for three
reasons. First, it reminds us that the state of environment is social issue, reflecting the choices people make
about how to live. Second, it suggests that environmental damage ­ to their air, land, or water ­ is often
unintended. By focusing on the short-term benefits of, say cutting down forests, using throwaway
packaging, we fail to see their long-term environmental effects. Third, in some respects, the environmental
deficit is reversible. Inasmuch as societies have created environmental problems, in other words, societies
can undo many of them.
Population Increase: After technology, the rapid growth of population is another threat to the
environment. With the economic development the previous balance between the high birth rate and high
death rate has been disturbed by the rapid decline in the death rate and the birth rate lagging behind in its
slow decline. The resultant demographic transition has lead to population explosion. By the end of 20th
century the planet earth was carrying more than six billion people, out of which about five billion were in
the relatively poor countries. Poor people have no choice but to consume whatever is available in the
environment.
How about consumerism? So many autos need oil pollution. Planet suffers from over-development.
Cultural Patterns: Growth and Limits
Our cultural outlook ­ especially how we construct a vision of "the good life' ­ also has environmental
consequences. People look for material comfort whereby progress and science become the cherished
values. Logic of growth is the additional consumption of environment. Nevertheless, the finite resources
put limits to growth. Humanity must implement policies to control the growth of population, production,
and the use of resources in order to avoid environmental collapse.
110
Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity