Electric Vehicles And Global Warming Writing Sample

Global warming continues to threaten the human population as its effects on the environment grow over time. Subtle changes in weathers and climates across the world bring destruction to humans and the environment as they make life here on Earth more difficult and worrisome. Air pollutants from vehicles cause respiratory ailments to people especially children, making survival in highly urbanized cities troubling.

As automobiles continue to consume tons of fuel on a daily basis, air pollution, although a menace on its own, remains the least of our worries. Climate change is the bigger force that poses far more vicious consequences in the long run. Today, researchers and scientists are looking at the possibility of electric cars as the best alternative for cars that feed on fossil fuel. Current efforts have already led to significant results although the future of electric cars hitting all roads in the world remains to be seen.

Global warming is defined as “the perception that the atmosphere near Earth’s surface is warming” where “temperature increases will have significant impacts on human activities; where we can live, what food we can grow and how or where we can grow food” (Wood, 2001, p. 240). Carbon dioxide has been argued as a major contributing factor in global warming (Zumerchick, 2001, p. 273).

With millions of car engines consuming billions of liters of fossil fuel everyday and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, emitted carbon dioxide hardly escapes to the higher part of the atmosphere (Danesh, 1999, p. 22), trapping heat in the Earth in the process and eventually raising global temperatures. The idea of transforming cars from machines that feed on fossil fuel into machines that solely rely on electricity is interesting in many ways. For the most part, there is the prospect of greatly reducing the concentration of air pollutants that contribute to the continuous rise in temperature from around the world.

Car manufacturers have begun to develop automobiles that rely on electricity and have already produced prototypes. These developments in the automobile industry only suggest that it is not impossible to create cars that no longer depend on gasoline for fuel. In fact, car manufacturers have shown the potential of electric cars to dominate the streets in the future.

Steven C. Hackett (1998) contends that “electric cars and cars powered by fuel cells appear to offer some of the best alternatives to gasoline-powered cars” (p. 275). He also observes that electric cars “are typically about 30 percent efficient” while cars with “internal combustion engines use less than 25 percent of the available energy in a unit of gasoline” (Hackett, 1998, p. 275). Despite the immense possibilities that lay ahead for electric cars, there are several challenges that make things a bit harder for the full realization of electric cars.

One of the challenges is the fact that electronic cars currently produced have high price tags. In effect, not all people can be able to afford a car that is environment friendly and that only needs electricity for it to run. Apparently, this is not at all surprising primarily because electric cars are not yet manufactured on large volumes. As more researches are yet to be made, the concept of a fully functional electronic car is a work in progress. Production limitations and resources are yet to change over time, thereby affecting the price for electric cars as the progress continues.

Another challenge is the fact that the electric cars recently produced by car manufacturers do not last long on the road in terms of operation. Electric vehicles do not stand at par, at least as of now, with cars that use fossil fuel in terms of speed and power—two essential features that  buyers often look for in a car. Electric vehicles need constant charging for them to be able to continuously run on the road and having to charge constantly is a hassle on the part of drivers especially on rush hours. David A. Crocker (1998) observes that “the limiting factor thus ar in the use of electric cars has been the long time it takes to recharge the battery and the relatively short distance the car can be driven between [recharges]” (p. 205). Indeed, more research is required in order to develop electric cars that perform better and have more capacity for stored power.

Lastly, there is the argument that major oil companies will lose their business when electric cars are made fully operational today. Suspicion is oftentimes raised as to whether major oil companies have direct influence on the development of electric cars since such types of vehicles can become a source of stiff competition for companies that sell oil in the global market. Since these corporations make profit from the oil fuel that they sell, it is not surprising at all if they decide to make certain ways that will hamper the progress of developing electric cars.

Despite the challenges involved in developing electric cars, there is little reason to believe that people should not seek alternatives to today’s gasoline-fueled automobiles. The fact that fossil fuel is a limited resource that will soon be gone only suggests that people should find substitutes to fossil fuel. The sooner we are able to fully realize such substitutes the more chances we have of surviving. Electric cars, being one of those substitutes, do not only help in eliminating our dependency on fossil fuel. Perhaps the more important idea is that electric cars can greatly reduce the carbon emissions of machines into the atmosphere.

The use of electric cars in the future is not only an economic alternative. At its best, it is also a response to the growing environmental threats that humanity is facing today. We are living in a time where climates are changing and risks to life from environmental concerns are rising. We may not be able to provide the cure to the problem of global warming just yet, but it is a good thing if we are able to at least find for ourselves viable means to lessen the presence of factors that contribute to global warming.

References

  1. Crocker, D. A. (1998). Ethics of Consumption: The Good Life, Justice, and Global Stewardship. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  2. Danesh, A. H. (1999). Corridor of Hope: A Visual View of Informal Economy. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  3. Hackett, S. C. (1998). Environmental and Natural Resources Economics: Theory, Policy, and the Sustainable Society. Armonk, N.Y.: ME Sharpe, Inc.
  4. Wood, R. A. (2001). The Weather Almanac: A Reference Guide to Weather, Climate, and Related Issues in the United States and Its Key Cities. Detroit: Gale Group.
  5. Zumerchick, J. (2001). Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy. New York: Gale Group.

 

The Ethnopsychological Context Of Emotion

The article thoroughly discusses the theories that guide the Ifaluk in describing and explaining human nature in terms of behavior, consciousness, differences and similarities of their concepts of “self” and “others.” The author broadly describes how the Ifaluk speak of themselves as persons who are relatively undivided internally and socially. The Ifaluk can, according to the author, be described further as having an “emotional mind” that understands evens in a way that is simultaneously cognitive and affective.

            What I find most interesting is the author’s discussion on “personhood” in the context of the Ifaluk’s belief of the “undivided self” and how they define the boundaries between “self” and “other.” The strong emphasis given by the Ifaluk on perceived and desired similarities between “self” and “other,” as described by the author, seems to challenge the definition of “individuality” in Western culture. I find this worthy of further discussion because the notion of “inclusivity” in several aspects of discourse in their culture (the frequent use of the pronouns “we” and “our” rather than “I” and “my”) is similarly of strong contrast to our culture of individuality where we are freely able to talk about ourselves separate from other people.

            The concepts of thought/emotion (nunuwan) and will/emotion/desire (tip) in Ifaluk culture intrigued me most as these concepts were described as being both similar and different. The author describes the two as difficult to distinguish from one another as they are often seen as describing aspects of the same phenomenon. I find these concepts problematic because they can easily encompass or, in certain instances, negate each other depending on the context in which they are used.

            I find that the use of ethnopsychology as the domain of study in the article as appropriate. It was able to clearly demonstrate the interconnections of the concepts of “self” and “others,” as well as of “thought” and “emotion” in the context of the cultural construction as well as human nature of the Ifaluk.

The Eugenics Movement

1. What is the Eugenics movement? Identify its objectives. Was it successful? Why did it develop in the 19th century? Was it scientific? How did it fit the received paradigm? Who were the victims? Could it happen again?

The Eugenics movement arose during the 19th century and grew in popularity during the 20th century.  The movement was an attempt to quantify human worth and decide who should reproduce and who should not.  The word eugenics is a derivative of the Greek word eu, which means good and the suffix genes meaning born.

The term was invented by Sir Francis Galton in 1883.  Galton was a cousin of Charles Darwin.  Eugenics has had different meaning to different people.  The meanings range from prenatal care to euthanasia.  The term is frequently used to refer to social movements and policies.  In a broad sense its intent is to improve human gene quality.  It can be described as controlled breeding of humans.  It was not confined to any one country but spread throughout the world.  The victims of this philosophy were poor, mentally ill, blind, promiscuous women, homosexuals and entire racial groups.   These individuals were often selected for sterilization.  It was supported by a number of prominent individuals including, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill.  The most infamous supporter was Adolph Hitler who practiced it in exterminating the Jewish people.

The policy was not successful as Hitler and the Nazis were reviled for their beliefs and actions.  It is unlikely to happen again because society is too enlightened at this stage of history.

2. Do races exist? What is the scholarly critique of “race?” Why is “race” still used by social scientists?

Race, in its common usage describes differences of skin color and physical attributes.  It has been expanded to include language, nationality, and religion. In 1758, a Swedish scientist named Carolus Linnaeus coined this phrase to differentiate between ethnic groups with the intent of justifying the exploitation of one group by another, primarily African and Native American slaves. Race is an idea that has become so fixed in American society that the use of the word persists still. There is only one human race and over time, we have learned that life originated in Africa.  There is a major difference between the biological and sociological views of race.

In the 1940’s, scientists began to realize that the racial map of human beings did not match what they were learning of human genes. Scientists agree with the idea that people look different, the differences are due to environmental factors. Groups have physically changed as environmental conditions warranted. Skin color, for example is essentially an adaptation to the amount of sun in the environment. People from regions with lots of direct overhead sunlight, like Africa, tend to have darker skin than people from cloudy or oblique sunlight regions, like northern Europe. Since melanin protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation, people with more melanin in tropical areas tend to live longer, and produce more children, than people who were melanin deficient. Sunlight also stimulates vitamin D production. Europeans are light skinned in order to absorb reduced sunlight in their environment.

3. Explain social psychological and structural theories of racism, describing the major elements of each.

Psychological theories of racism are exhibited by the notion of superiority of racial groups. One group believes they are inherently superior in every way.   These are ideas which are reinforced and put into action by structural racism. Psychological racism is the dislike for another group based on appearance or cultural differences.  The disliked is usually based on superficial traits such as hair texture or eye color.

Structural theories of racism prevent minorities from reaching certain heights in society.  These ideas keep minorities in limited educational settings and in less challenging occupations.  They restrict access to certain neighborhoods and services.  The term red-lining is an expression of the practical use of structural racism.  Both forms of racism are really about power: issues of economics, political power, and domination.

Almost all countries in the world adopted some form of eugenics taking a psychologically racist idea to fruition by creating structural racism.  One example of such racism was the practice of removing aboriginal children from their parents in Australia with the belief that they could not survive if raised by their native parents.

4. Compare Cuban and Mexican immigrants with regard to secondary structural assimilation. What structural and historical factors would explain the greater “success” of Cubans.

Cuban Immigrants have been eager to migrate to the United States since Fidel Castro became the ruler and instituted a socialist government.  He imposed stifling laws and restrictions on the Cubans which negatively impacted their quality of life.  Cuba is very close to Florida so there are frequent attempts to make the journey to the United States.

The general rule is that once an individual reaches American soil and is out of American waters, they are allowed to remain in the U.S.  This policy is known as the wet-foot dry- foot policy.  It is very controversial. Many Cubans who make it to Florida have relatives to assist them with assimilation.  Miami is very heavily influenced by Cuban immigration.

There is more acceptance of Cubans because of the dislike of the United States for the Castro regime.  Castro attempts to prevent his citizens from leaving.

Unlike Cubans, Mexicans occupied areas of the United State prior to the creation of the country.  Many areas such as Texas and Arizona belonged to Mexico at one time.

The multicultural influence of Mexican Americans is rich and complex. It reflects the influences of Spain, Mexico, and indigenous cultures.  Mexicans have had a conflicting history of immigration to the United State.  Like Cubans, they also have family structures within the United State to assist with assimilation.  They have worked on many structural projects in the history of building the country. Mexicans have met with more difficulty in assimilation because some Americans feel they are immigrating in very large number and straining the social support systems of the country.  This is due to several factors: economic troubles in Mexico, the lure of work in the United States, the lack of effort by the Mexican government to prevent its citizens from leaving.  The numbers of Mexican immigrants in California and Texas have surpassed the million mark causing serious sociological problems for those states.

5. Compare Blacks and Cubans with regard to access to cultural and physical capital.

Blacks were brought to this country in chains and enslaved for 400 years.  After slavery, they were further subjected to systemic racism which denied them opportunities easily earned by new immigrants.  White immigrants to the United States are given more opportunity that Blacks based on skin color.

 Because Blacks have a physically identifying trait of skin color, it is very difficult for them to assimilate into White society.  Cubans have lighter skin which offers them greater racial acceptance than darker skinned African Americans.  Many Cubans are Black. Black Cubans are discriminated against in the same manner that African Americans are.  Racism exists throughout Cuban society as it does in American society.  Cuba was a part of the New World exploration by the Europeans during which they established their dominance in regard to cultural and physical standards.

Unfortunately, society today still has remnants of this ignorant thinking which is related to the  misuse of the theory of eugenics.

Black Cubans, by many measures, have made great advances in the past four decades, their progress often cited by officials as one of the signal accomplishments of President Fidel Castro’s revolution. For example, officials report that in this country of 11 million people, there are more than 13,000 black physicians by comparison, in the United States, with a black population four times as large, the 1990 census counted just over 20,000 black doctors, according to the leading U.S. association of black physicians.[i]

Intermarriage between whites and blacks is commonplace in Cuba. Race relations, especially among individuals, are much more relaxed and amicable than in U.S. neighborhoods–and unlike in the United States, virtually all Cuban neighborhoods are racially integrated.[1]

[1]

http://www.afrocubaweb.com/cubabegins.htm

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