The impact left by industries and urbanization has been the reason for global concern for quite long. In the XXI century, the issue has gained even more significance, seeing how new threats posed to nature and its resources by technology have emerged since recently.
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Among the most topical ones, water resources and their preservation must be named. In his book The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death and Possible Rebirth, Blake Gumprecht addresses the problem of the notorious Los Angeles River and its vegetation, making it obvious that the time to reconsider people’s effect on nature has come.
While Blake clearly provides a fairly honest overview of the problem, describing the current state of the river quite precisely, he still leaves the problem of technological evolution as the crucial element out of the picture, therefore, making the argument rather one-sided. Considering the integration of technological advances into the process of saving the environment would be quite an upgrade for Gumprecht’s work.
What social factors cause the degradation? (society and environment)
While the degradation issues that Gumprecht discusses in his book concern mostly the regression of environment, certain societal perspective of the phenomenon is are also somewhat touched upon.
For instance, Gumprecht ties in the process of degradation of the Los Angeles River together with the issues in the evolution of the urban life – or, to be more exact, the specifics of the life of settlers and the effects that these specifics had had on the local river system: “The destruction of the Los Angeles River is in many ways unique in North America because of […] the ways in which Euro-American settlers […] reacted to it” (Gumprecht 129).
The environmental degradation is, therefore, linked directly to the societal, down to the point where one triggers another. Judging by what Gumprecht has to say, degradation is caused by such social factors as urbanization and economic growth. While clearly positive from a sociological point of view, these processes affect the environment impressively.
People sacrifice environment for the sake of greater revenues, which results in a major ecological catastrophe. Therefore, among the social factors that cause degradation, urbanization, industrial development and IT evolution must be listed.
What impacts does the degradation have on society? (environment and society)
As it has been stressed above, environmental collapse is linked directly to the societal one; therefore, it can be assumed that degradation as an environmental phenomenon has a reciprocal effect on the society. In other words, with the deterioration of the environment, the Los Angeles River in the given case, the regression of society can be observed, starting from numerous health issues and up to conflicts regarding the priorities (i.e., addressing the environmental issues vs. solving the current financial and economic problems).
A deplorable state of society, in its turn, also contributes to the decomposition of environment. For instance, increasing financial concerns and growing rates of poverty will lead to the lack of concern regarding the state of environment and the following rise in pollution rates.
Therefore, it must be admitted that in the XXI century, nature and civilization are linked directly, one obviously depending on another. The given balance must be maintained in order to make sure that the industrial evolution of the humankind will not harm nature and that its resources can be either replenished or retained.
Gumprecht, Blake. The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death and Possible Rebirth. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 2001. Print.