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American Environment History - Essay Example

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Name of Student Date War, Technology, and its Effects to the Natural Environment Across history, technological advancements and wartime needs are two of the most environmentally destructive human activities. Creveld pointed out that the search for “technological superiority” has costs that may exceed the benefits when unmanaged (231-232)…
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American Environment History
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American Environment History

Download file to see previous pages... These environmental events were selected for these distinctively exhibit the impacts of socio-political and technological activities affect the natural environment. However, this paper acknowledges its limitations as there are other significant environmental phenomenon across the history of the U.S. Dust Bowl The Dust Bowl in the U.S. during the 1930s was an environmental disaster characterized by the erosion of the large portion of the Great Plains. Dust storms have brushed off top soils resulting in a 75 percent loss of the original land in the 1940s (Hornbeck 2012). This phenomenon affected Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas, whose lands dried up and blown away. Simply, the drought in this area caused the soil to dry up and converted into dust (Heinrichs 7). The Dust Bowl phenomenon has caused massive damages to the lives, properties, and livelihood of the people in the Great Plains during the 20th century. This environmental catastrophe may be associated with the increasing development of the country. Prior to the incident, the Great Plains was considered to be a conducive area for living. Thus, human civilization and activities transformed the grassland into settlements (Porter 20). This is the first manifestation of how technology and advancement may reshape the conditions of the environment. Further activities and development in the area includes the rise of their economy, whereby encouraging the increase of population. As people inhabited the area, technological advancements like trains and farming activities were visible and increasing in the Great Plains (Porter 20). These human activities together with the improper land use contributed to the existence of the Dust Bowl. Again, this demonstrates how advancements and industrialization affect the environment. In effect of these poor practices and the drought, dusts were wiped of the land surface that covered most of the Plains. This has damaged agricultural land and domestication, which in turn impact the lives and livelihood of many families in the Plains. Hence, food production in the area has become very difficult. For instance, 50 percent of the cattle in the Great Plains were destroyed while the others were given to the Federal Surplus Relief Corporation as it has become unfit for consumption (Timeline). Nuclear Power Generation Nuclear power is a technological advancement from aid communities in generating electricity at a low cost. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, nuclear energy or power stems from the “splitting of uranium” or fission, which in turn will produce steam to generate electricity. In the U.S., commercial nuclear power has been one of the most important sources of electricity with a 20 percent contribution to the country’s electricity source from the 90s to today (Rogers 6). Although nuclear power generation has less utilization, it cannot be denied that nuclear power has adverse impacts to the environment, which is evident in the environment in the 20th to the early 21st century. However, the country still continues to maximize nuclear power due to low operational costs and high reliability. This technological advancement impacts the environment through thermal pollution. That is, nuclear reactors is capable of producing “waste heat” (Hester and Harrison 93-94). A nuclear power plant may produce 50 percent more heat than ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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