The basis of most environmental problems confronting the globe today can be directly or indirectly traced to human activity on the planet. For instance, waste leading to water pollution has resulted in concerns about scarcity of drinking water (Vercillo.) Air pollution is a result of industrial practices, such as the use of air polluting chemicals in the dry cleaning process, and driving automobiles rather than walking or riding bicycles. In addition, toxic waste causes pollution of air, water, and land. Collectively, many of these factors, especially gas emissions, have contributed to climate change, which is an extremely grave threat that can be reduced and eliminated to some degree if people would simply learn how to take preventive measures and adhere to them.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which people along with nature can coexist in fruitful synchronicity, that allow achieving the social, economic, and other requirements of current and future generations (EPA, 2013.) Another way of defining sustainability is that it tackles human and natural systems in addition to economic systems for the purpose of meeting needs and wishes of present generations without threatening the survival of future inhabitants of the planet (Sustainability.)
The ecological footprint is based on the fact that all renewable resources derive from the earth, and explains the flows of energy and matter to and from the economy. It transforms those flows into the equivalent land and water area needed for nature to support these flows (Sustainable Scale, 2003.) Using the ecological footprint as a way to approach sustainability is a reasonable approach because it can help to define relative consumption in order to teach people about their resource usage. This in turn can cause them to make changes in the ways they consume resources. The result can be the ability for humans to meet the demands of the present without interfering with the ability of future people to satisfy their own needs for consumption.
As the director of the Environmental Protection Agency in California, I would address the several issues immediately in order to reduce the footprint of California. I would promote a toxic-free environment by investigating the use of the 85,000 chemicals that are used commercially in the state, and find ways to reduce the exposure of Californians to the hazardous ones. In addition, it would be crucial to significantly cut down global warming pollution as well as smog reduction by switching to cleaner carbon technology, including ones that release zero emissions (The Issues.) In addition, I would expand incentives to build millions of solar roofs, since so much of the energy in the state derives from dirty sources that are detrimental to the environment; utilizing wind, sun, and other clean energy sources would minimize pollution and provide a constant supply of energy. A major effort that I would be enacting would be to reduce the use of nuclear power in order to lessen the threat of nuclear disasters; rather than use these power sources, it would be imperative to create renewable, carbon-free power. Finally, in order to address global warming, I would coordinate solutions including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner cars in combination with a cap on carbon emissions. California could be viewed as a national leader regarding environmental sustainability.
“All Issues.” Environment California. 19 February 2013 <http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/issues>.
“Ecological Footprint.” 2003. Sustainable Scale. 19 February 2013 <http://www.sustainablescale.org/conceptualframework/understandingscale/measuringscale/ecologicalfootprint.aspx>.
“Sustainability.” EPA. 19 February 2013 <http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm>.
Vercillo, Katrin. “The EPA’s Four Major Environmental Concerns.” Hub Pages. 19 February 2013 <http://kathrynvercillo.hubpages.com/hub/The-EPAs-4-Major-Environmental-Concerns>.