The discourse on what or how America should be has been debated for years. From the most influential to the ordinary Americans, people have presented numerous ideas and proposals concerning what the nation should do or adopt to fulfil its ideals. The great American debate, often, has been explored in wider perspectives by scholars, environmentalists, ecologists politicians, and economists among many others. Notably, these discussions have taken place within the Congress, national social and political gatherings, and the environmental conferences. The purpose and relevance of America as a nation are the sole reasons behind these discussions. It is observed that the perceptions of dire situations should lead to actions that address the same issues. A critical view of the American debate presents a commonality across all the interested parties. It has become quite clear that the individuals concerned have always advocated for their concerns and interests in the great American debate. To mention just a few, Eugene Debs advocated for American socialism whereby he cited poor to pay for the working class and propagated the labour movement. John Dewey's philosophy of pragmatism has motivated individuals to take actions towards the specific aspects that can make American life better. Of particular interest here are the concerns of the influential conservationist David Foreman who identifies various environmental concerns in America and ways to address them.
To begin with, Foreman observes that the forces of industrialization have highly affected deep ecology contributing to several environmental problems which, if no relevant actions are taken, can make life on the planet unbearable. One of the most pressing concerns that Foreman has addressed is the issue of the human project. He argues that the nation has favored the social ecology over deep ecology. While the social ecology drives for aspects like industrialization and social transformation, deep ecology looks at the environment or the natural habitats like the wilderness. As a matter of fact, the social paradigm has overpowered the need to conserve the environment (Foreman). America has advanced talks on how best open spaces can be utilized to set up social structures such as industries and social institutions like schools, churches and hospitals. The human behavior has been continuously exerting increasing pressure on the ecological system, and the results are damaging. Studies have revealed that up to two-thirds of the world natural resources have been used up as a result of human interference. A study which involved 95 countries including America has indicated that forests, wetlands, savannahs, coastal fisheries, estuaries among other natural habitats that recycle nutrients, air and water for all living things are being destroyed (Milner-Gulland 270-278). In the US, Foreman has noted how various species of flora and fauna such as California condor, the grey wolf and the grizzly bear are facing extinction. Scientists have predicted the possibility that the ecological system of the earth might not be supportive in future. As a result, Foreman takes the war on environmental destruction beyond the borders of America to the world so that everyone should wage war on environmental destruction. The adverse effects that face America from encroachment and global warming similarly affect the whole world. He asserts the "we face the same enemy no matter what we emphasize" (Foreman).
Foreman acknowledges that one of the problems with America is that the multinational corporations, as well as the power of verily competitive nation-states, not only interfere with social justice and human dignity but also the evolutionary integrity of the world. The supply chain of commercial products manufactured by the multinational corporations, together with their derivatives leave bare vast acres of land. A UK-based study on the global deforestation impacts by multinational corporations reveals that only 30% of such companies can trace the amounts of deforestation their products have caused (Radford). Such brands include Starbucks, MacDonalds and Nestle which are all-coffee based, among others. Foreman suggests that American citizens should ask themselves critical questions whose answers should seek to investigate the acreage of land left for national wilderness preservation program.
Foreman also notes the failures of the relevant bodies mandated with the task of checking and preserving natural habitats and ecological system. The US Forest Service tasked with the role of protecting American natural habitats like rivers and forests have reported huge budgets spent on putting out fires which have increasingly torched American forests (Zukoski). While the climate change has been blamed for most of the tragedies that befall forested areas, the relevant stakeholders within these organizations have failed to follow inspirational objectives. Foreman cites that the stakeholders have preferred to respond rather than take proactive measures to enrich and improve the conditions of the ecological systems. He suggests that all conservationists should take the forefront when it comes to preserving the evolutionary dignity of the natural habitats. People should not just accept but also question the reports and response given by bodies like the Forest Service, Louisiana-Pacific and Exxon.
Over the years, conservationists, as well as biologists, have noted that the biodiversity of the earth is destroyed by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources as well as the human desire to be the masters of nature. This observation by Foreman goes against the common notion that the excesses of the industrial civilization are the mother of environmental destruction. A report by Worldwatch Institute supports this perspective highlighting that the rate of consumption in America is moving at a reckless pace and slowly spreading to the developing nations. In this report, every American consumes more than their weights with regards to natural resources such as gas among others. This consumer culture has been highlighted as an environmental threat (Goldenberg). The national parks and the wilderness areas cannot maintain themselves naturally if they face constant human interferences, and Foreman insinuates a change of attitudes and behaviors towards the ecosystem.
Changes in the American economic system, as well as good stewardship, are not enough to preserve the diversity that has lasted 4 billion evolutionary years. Foreman asserts that long-term protection of natural resources and diversity are key to sustaining the richness of the environment (Foreman). Human behavior should change for the better. The nation should spearhead a national and objective-driven wilderness preservation culture or system that does everything possible to achieve its goals. The objectives should go beyond open-air zoos, scenic preserves as well as parks.
In conclusion, the great American debate can be a general notion until it is taken from the perspective of the participants of the discourse. The problems the country goes through are numerous from the point of view of David Foreman. Industrialization, human encroachment, lax environmental bodies, greedy, multinational companies, overpopulation, and overconsumption are some of the underpinnings that America experiences are thereby causing adverse ecological effects that affect not only America but also other nations in the long run. Change in human behaviors and attitudes on the environment, creating wilderness preservation systems, and strengthening environmental bodies are some of the solutions which can make the nation and the world a better place for everyone.
Foreman, Dave. Confessions Of An Eco-Warrior. New York: Broadway Books, 2016. Print.
Goldenberg, Suzanne. "US Cult Of Greed Is Now A Global Environmental Threat, Report Warns." the Guardian. N.p., 2010. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.
Milner-Gulland, E. J. "Interactions Between Human Behaviour And Ecological Systems." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367.1586 (2011): 270-278. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.
Radford, Tim. "Two-Thirds Of World's Resources 'Used Up'." the Guardian. N.p., 2005. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.
ZUKOSKI, TED. "The Forest Service's Climate Change Failure." The Agenda. N.p., 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.
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