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Pollution Prevention and Waste Management

ENMT495 Global Environmental

Week 2 Discussion

DQ1 Pollution Prevention and Waste Management

Between the buildup of waste in the oceans of the Earth and the continued growth of landfills, among other things, it’s not unreasonable to say that humanity has done itself a gross disservice in the handling of our waste historically and today. So where do we go from here? How can we resolve this issue and make our garbage work for us, rather than working for our garbage? What will the future hold for us if we don’t?

 

Below are some questions I hope will spark a productive discussion for this week:

 

 Briefly summarize the seven P2 strategies from the week’s readings. Place them  in order from least to most important, based on how effective you feel they are in terms of minimizing waste byproducts.

 

 The primary method of waste management is simply not producing waste to begin with. Brainstorm zero waste solutions that can provide groceries to consumers without need of packaging. Are there any such products on the market today, or green products which require you to return the packaging to be refilled? Kindly share them with the class.

 

 From the 1960s and onward in the U.S., companies moved away from using glass containers for milk and soda in favor of paper and plastic containers. The older glass containers were collected, washed, and reused a majority of the time, often because of rebates offered when said containers were returned. What was the reason for this change in policy, and what are the ramifications of that change? Are there other products that would benefit from such a rebate program, to return containers for reuse? Is this a feasible redistribution method in today’s society of exported goods and mass production, or are there other solutions to single use disposable items we should consider?

 

 Recycling is a wonderful idea in theory, but in practice it is often confusing, and materials you think get recycled end up with regular waste in landfills. If you aren’t washing, sorting, and delivering your own recycling, this is often the case. Review the recycling program in your neighborhood or workplace, you can usually find it in the trash utility website for your county. Have they released a report in recent years on the efficacy of their recycling program? What percentage of materials delivered for recycling are successfully processed? Brainstorm ways we can improve the facilities or procedures related to recycling.

 

 Food waste is a global issue, but it is particularly problematic in the United States, where an estimated 30-40% of the food supply ends up in the garbage. Why is that? What can we do to minimize food waste at every level of distribution, from production to transportation, processing, retail, all the way to in our homes (and restaurants)?

 

 Nuclear Waste is an impending issue that the U.S. has been sweeping under the rug for well over 50 years now. One of every three Americans lives within 50 miles of high level nuclear waste, because we’ve been storing that waste in temporary holding areas indefinitely, because we do not have a permanent storage facility to hold high-level nuclear waste. Is constructing a permanent facility the best option for solving America’s nuclear waste problem, why or why not? If not, propose a better solution.

 

 Describe the differences in waste management between the current standard, and the standard achieved by humans in a sustainable society. How will humans in the future treat what is currently called waste? What would they think and feel about how our society operates today?

 

 Think about your life, at work or in your home. What are some steps you can take to move toward a zero waste lifestyle? Understand that it cannot happen overnight, or perhaps even completely, but every step you can take in the right direction benefits yourself and society at large. Is zero waste a reasonable goal you can set for yourself? Why or why not?

 

 Summarize some of the economic, political, social, and ecological challenges humanity will have to overcome in order to create a zero waste society.

 

 Imagine you are a secondary school student from the 28th century writing an assignment about the climate crisis of the 21st century. What are some technologies, governmental policies, and lifestyle changes in the 28th century that solved 21st century waste problems?

 

 Alternatively, write your own question regarding Pollution Prevention or Waste Management and answer that, I’m not here to stifle intellectual discourse. I look forward to reading your responses!

 

DQ2 Environment and Economics

 

Good morning, my name is Josefine Velazquez this week my discussion topic will be on Environment and Economics. Environmental economics is a study of economics of ecology and environmental issues. If puts a huge focus on monetary value of ecosystems and the coast and benefits of environmental policies. Now that we know what it is how do we start to re-think money in sense that maybe everyone not just a select few “tax money” front the load of saving the environment. I agree with Hagens when he mentioned that we should not only listen to business men but ecologists as well.

 

A quote from Dr. Nate Hagens, a speaker at Earth Week video “A Guide to Being Human in the 21st Century.” Said “Energy is what powers modern society money is a claim on energy.”

 

How do you feel about this quote in regards to how the nation or even the world values and measures on money over the other two pillars of sustainability?

 

Eliminating pollution entirely is unlikely to happen or even desirable how can economics help us to think about the disadvantages and advantages for better environmental plans?

 

How would you advise government to put a price tag or monitory value on something that comes naturally like water, air, and sun?

 

Resources

 

Hagens, N. (2016). Earth-week speaker series at UW-Stevens Point 2016. “A Guide to Being Human in the 21st Century” [YouTube]. Earth-week speaker series at UW-Stevens Point 2016. “A Guide to Being Human in the 21st Century” – YouTube

 

DQ3 Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Urban Development

 

My name is Ronald Hicks and will be leading this topic discussion on sustainable urban development.  This week explored the concepts of and management of industrial ecology, eco-industrial parks, and urban planning.  These topics will be discussed through participation in the following questions:

 

Eco-industrial Parks (EIPs) are designed to function as an ecological system, in which raw materials are reduced and industrial waste can be recycled.  Summarize the economic, environmental, and social benefits of these parks, then select an example EIP from the reading and identify the economic, environmental, and social benefits specific to the example.  Identify how these factors have shifted over time for your selection.

 

 After watching Sustainable City | Fully Charged, describe the water management techniques in the Sustainable City in Dubai.  What are the economic and environmental benefits and drawbacks of this system?

 

 How does China’s Circular Economy Initiative integrate economic development and environmental objectives?  Do you believe a completely “Circular” economy is possible?  Why or why not?

 

 This week’s resources have shown the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable development.  In what ways do these initiatives increase social equity as well?  Have you seen or experienced these effects in your personal life?

 

 How did the Swedish city of Malmö change residents’ attitudes towards sustainable changes?  Do you believe their initiatives were effective?  Can you provide suggestions or other approaches from your studies and experiences on encouraging behavioral change?

 

 The leading sustainable cities tested innovative ideas to tackle transportation, energy, waste, and many other urban issues.  Using your own city or hometown, identify an environmental issue that has seen innovation in the last decade.  Alternatively, identify a prominent issue you feel should be addressed and discuss the barriers (political, geographic, cultural, etc) associated with doing so.

 

 The joint report from Cities Alliance and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) defines ‘brown’ and ‘green’ agendas.  What is the difference between the two and what is their relationship to the issues presented in this graph?

 

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