Sample Economics Paper on Understanding Sustainability
Environmental management is the key to sustainable living in a society. In fact, the transdisciplinary and the interdisciplinary nature of environmental management provides communities with the ability to solve environmental problems, such as flooding, pollution, erosions, desertification and deforestation among others. In this paper, I would like to explore my initial understanding of the concept of sustainability applied to the management of natural resources with a broader perspective on the human society. Moreover, the paper counters my initial perception of sustainability with my current views on environmental problems.
My Initial Understanding of Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
To begin with, my initial understanding of the concept of sustainability to the management of natural resources was based on the idea that it dealt with the management of natural landscapes and how people interacted with them. In fact, I believed that sustainability solely and exclusively focused on the management of environmental assets, such as animals, soil, land and water with particular emphasis on how the administration of the resources affects the quality of life in the present and future generations (Timilsina et al. 8). Based on these views, sustainability is the management of the way people and natural resources interact to form a habitual relationship in the use, planning, and conservation of resources. From this perspective, it is important to make sure that sustainable management of natural resources considers how people depend on these resources for productivity and good health.
My Current Perspectives on Sustainability
According to Timilsina et al., natural resources still remain the backbone of every society and economy (9). As for my current view on the sustainable use of natural resources, resources should be used efficiently to create wealth for the present and future generations (Timilsina et al. 9). Therefore, sustainable use of natural resources entails practical methods that concern hydrological cycles, ecological cycles, plants, animals, climate, topography and geography. These factors are inter-related and interact with society; and therefore, a change in any of these may pose long-term and far-reaching irreversible effects.
Sustainable management of the environment is the most efficient way of ensuring that natural resources are conserved for the future generations. In fact, the challenge of climate change and human activities has strained natural resources leading to their depletion in some cases. Indeed, climate change is one of the major challenges to sustainability (Fairley). It is caused by human activities that emit excessive carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the environment. Consequently, some economists advise that the best way to lower the emission of greenhouses gases into the environment is charging an atmospheric fee proportional to the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
Eight schemes that implement the carbon price theory have emerged, and by 2016, seven billion metric tons of carbon dioxide was produced worldwide. This represents 12% of all greenhouse gases emitted into the environment. Moreover, the IMF and the World Bank have set objectives of collecting the price of 25 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted globally by 2020. However, whether the carbon pricing policy will be effective in lowering the amount of greenhouse gases produced remains unclear (Fairley). In addition, the current carbon prices are still very low and have been termed as virtually useless by some experts. This has led to some speculating among scholars that the political and practical hurdles may undermine the effectiveness of carbon pricing in theory.
As for the concept of carbon pricing, it has been implemented in two different forms. In most situations, regional, municipal and national governments determine carbon prices. Governments are currently establishing carbon markets by implementing an upper limit on the amount of annual greenhouse gases that can be emitted into the environment by different sectors of the economy (Fairley). The governments then provide tradable credits or allowances on carbon emissions. The second version of carbon pricing is charging carbon taxes. However, the use of carbon taxes has continued to face challenges from the public that is tax-averse (Fairley). Industries are being charged direct levies for the carbon dioxide they release, as well as consumers for every ton of carbon dioxide fuel they use. In fact, experts have observed that the two approaches to lowering carbon emission have more similarity than differences. For instance, they both have low prices that cannot lower emission or make stakeholders invest in low carbon technologies. Currently, most taxes and carbon markets charge less 15 dollars per metric ton, and it is predicted that at least 44 dollars per metric ton are needed to lower carbon emission (Fairley). This means that carbon emission remains a challenge to sustainable development.
My current perspective on sustainability was also shaped by the seminar I attended. At the seminar, we learned wildlife restoration and production in the delta, which are critical aspects of conservation. Currently, several animal species are endangered worldwide, and if nothing is done, these species are threatened by extinction. Additionally, animal conservation is a critical part of sustainable development because it involves using and managing resources in a manner that preserves them for future generation. For instance, a development that leads to the advancement of infrastructure but causes harm to animals is not sustainable. Initially, I perceived sustainable development as using and managing resources in a manner that ensures that they are not depleted. However, after learning about animal restoration and production in the delta at the seminar, my perception about sustainable development broadened to include the environment.
It is clear that sustainable management of natural resources is the best approach to ensuring that resources are conserved for future generations. Unfortunately, aspects, such as climate changes and human activities have piled pressure on the existence of natural resources, leading to the possibility of depletion (Vaidya et al. 370). Resources play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem, thus making their destruction a major threat to the existence of animals, plants, human beings and the entire planet. Hence, this necessitates the need to incorporate swift and strict measures aimed at reducing the looming threats to natural resources, while ensuring that the remaining resources replace the damages.
Sustainable management of natural resources is significant not only for the present but also for the future generations. Initially, my perception of sustainability in the management of natural resources comprised the management of natural landscapes and the way they interact with people. As for my current perspective on sustainability in the management of natural resources, it entails transforming these resources to build up wealth for the people. My current view has also broadened to include issues of wildlife and the conservation of the environment. In addition, I have noted that greenhouses gases, such as carbon dioxide have remained one of the threats to sustainable development.
Fairley, Peter. “If Carbon Pricing Is so Great, Why Isn’t It Working?” Ensia, 3 Mar. 2017, ensia.com/features/carbon-pricing-why-isnt-it-working/. Accessed 30 May 2017.
Timilsina, Raja Rajendra, Koji Kotani and Yoshio Kamijo. “Sustainability of Common Pool Resources.” Plos One, vol. 12, no. 2, 17 Feb. 2017, pp. 1-13, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0170981. Accessed 30 May 2017.
Vaidya, Ashma, and Audrey L. Mayer. “Use of the Participatory Approach to Develop Sustainability Assessments for Natural Resource Management.” International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, vol. 21, no. 4, 2014, pp. 369-379.