The conflict perspective is very apparent in modern day issues affecting the environment. Environmental groups, both government and non-government based like The Sierra Club and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are often at odds with industries with conflicting goals such as logging and oil industries. The industries want their right to manufacture products from natural resources, while environmental groups want to protect and preserve these limited natural resources. For example, conservationist groups lobby to industries in the energy field and people in general to reduce and conserve their use of natural resources and to develop alternate sources for this energy. On the other hand, preservationists strive to preserve these resources as much as possible.
Various other environmental groups have specific purposes and goals such as eliminating air pollution from automobiles and stopping the dumping of chemicals into ocean waters. The general goal of all of these groups is to preserve and ensure the existence of all living beings on earth. While this may sound simple or easy, it is far from it. When big businesses like oil companies have billions of dollars and tremendous influences on government, small time environmental groups only get secondary attention.
The majority of these groups have been started in very recent history and continue in growing force. This is mainly due to growing awareness, as well as growing concern for environmental issues. Despite this, industries have also grown and so has their consumption and exploitation of mother nature. Pollution and waste resulting from the depletion and usage of many natural resources and fossil fuels has plagued the earth recently.
Two examples are the growing hole in the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect, which will continue to haunt us in the future. Along with this destruction comes the elimination of various species of animals and plants alike. The dollar sign is the biggest obstacle in combating this and although awareness and protection of Earth's resources has steadily grown, this conflict is still being won by big business. Along with the multitude of private groups trying to win this conflict, the government is also making attempts to do so as well.
This fight to preserve and protect mother nature through legislation and activism is being waged by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Through politics and lobbying by these groups, the government has passed many new laws, rules and regulations to aid in the cause of protecting our environment. Although some would argue otherwise, industries are faced with very stringent regulations with regards to pollution. Waste materials must be dealt with appropriate ways and processed accordingly. However, some businesses continue to ignore the laws and illegally dump waste products into inappropriate places like the ocean that have devastating effects on nature.
While our knowledge and awareness has grown, so has the conflict between environmental groups and industries. Multiple advances and breakthroughs have occurred in industry and technology in recent years. Some of these advances have aided in the process of conserving the environment and others have simply done the exact opposite. An increasing cognizance among people of the effects of the consequences of our behavior has taken place. We continue to engage in this conflict which will not only have a tremendous impact on our lives today, but even more so on our ancestors.
Although this is a conflict that will probably never be resolved, we can fight to be on the winning side of this battle.