Environmental Studies: Tragedy Of The Commons Sample College Essay


In the modern world, environmentalists are divided over the best way to conserve the environment. Some claim that the corporate world or the private sector should be given the responsibility of ensuring that the environment is safe while some are of the view that the government should always take full control.

In this regard, the corporate-led environmentalists suggest that the commons should be privatized meaning that the taking care of the water bodies, the air, and the natural resources should be the role of the designated companies (Yacoumidis 16). On the other hand, some environmentalists have put up a spirited debated to ensure that the commons are taken care by the government since it has people’s mandate, which would mean that the commons would be managed in a more democratic way.

The main concern of those suggesting that the government should take full control is the issue of equity and sustainability. It is claimed that private organizations would be concerned with profit making, but not preserving the resources for future generations. The tragedy of the commons means the destruction of assets that are owned collectively, including the eco-system.

In the modern international system, the issue of environmental degradation is considered one of the major issues affecting both state and non-state actors in the global system since its effects are uncontrollable. The global agencies set up to check issues of environmental degradation are weakened while private organizations are being urged to take up the role of overseeing environmental conservation through corporate social responsibility.

Analysis of the Tragedy of the Commons

In the early 1980s onwards, the issue of environmental conservation was reinvented after it emerged that the state of affairs was terrible since pollution was in the air, some of the rare species were under threat, and the depletion of the ozone layer was inevitable. Many governments demanded that private organizations follow the laid down rules and regulations to protect environmental degradation.

However, states were divided over the best way method to be applied in conserving the natural resources. Countries in the developed countries claimed that developing countries had to forego their developmental ambitions by ensuring that forests are not interfered with since this would worsen the situation.

On there, the developing countries claimed that the west or the developed countries were to blame for the deteriorating environment; hence, countries from these regions had to fund programs aimed at restoring the environment. This saw the convening of various meetings to address the issue, including the Rio convention, the Geneva Convention, the Kyoto protocol, and the Durban deliberations.

The debate regarding the best way to resolve issues related to the environment is still ongoing, but the major issue is who should be given the responsibility to implement the rules and regulations. Some scholars and policymakers claim that the government should intervene since it has efficient machinery while others are opposed to this move since it would hurt economic development.

Scholars are claiming that the private sector should be given a chance to claim that economic development would be attained while at the same time preserving the environment. Those claiming that the government should intervene in the view that the private sector is to blame and in this case, it should not be involved in the programs aiming at preserving the environment.

Therefore, the tragedy of the commons could be interpreted from two perspectives, one of them being the private property perspective while the other is the governmental perspective. This paper will discuss the two interpretations in detail.

Why Interpret the Tragedy of the Commons in two Ways

The tragedy of the commons could be interpreted as the argument for private property or government intervention because of several variables. One of the variables is the discourse on the environment and the economy whereby the two differ greatly. Advocates of private property started their activities in the mid-1960s and ended in mid-1970s.

These activists were of the view that environmental protection is harmful to economic development. In this regard, they advised that individuals had to be allowed to own property without considering issues related to the environment. This means that the environment had to be polluted for people to grow to reach. This was a zero-sum game since the environment would lose for societal members to grow rich.

On the other hand, the second wave of activism was concerned with the way the environment was being destroyed. Such activists are always concerned with sustainability, meaning that the way resources are used should take into consideration the demands of the future generation. Based on this, it is always argued that what is environmentally sustainable is profitable. The main aim of these activists is to arrive at a win-win situation as opposed to playing a zero-sum game (Krajnc 78).

Another major variable is the issue of governance regime whereby the private property advocates suggested that each company should ensure that it controls environmental degradation through regulation of pollution. This means that sophisticated technologies ought to be employed in releasing harmful gases that have the potential of affecting human and animal life.

On the other hand, those advocating for governmental intervention suggest that policies aiming at preserving the environment should be integrated into overall policies whereby precautionary measures should be taken to prevent weather pollution. This would imply that companies would have to change their production modes to facilitate environmental cleanup and preservation.

Advocates of private property and governmental intervention differ greatly over the major issues that affect the environment. This means that they both underscore the fact that the environment is under threat. For private property activists, the major concern is pollution of water bodies in urban places, which come about because of nuclear power, increased population, shortage of natural resources, and increased human activities.

For those agitating for governmental intervention, their major concern is the issue of climate change, which is closely related to the depletion of the ozone layer. The issue of biodiversity is of great concern to these activists because the natural forests are under threat, the tropical forests are invaded daily, and some of the rare species of animals are under threat.

Apart from the problem issues, those advocating for governmental intervention are concerned with waste recycling procedures, landfill siting, presence of hazardous waste products in the air, the issue of carcinogens, poor urban planning, pollution from cars, and the way land is used in the urban areas (Gibson 28). The main features and emphasis of activists characterize them into two major categories, as early noted.

Those advocating for private property suggest that environmental issues are related to alienation and detachment from socio-political and economic orders. Moreover, the lack of technological methods is another cause of environmental degradation. Based on this, people should change their attitudes towards environmental degradation.

The group calling for the government to intervene in a different opinion since it suggests that society should accept the challenges facing it, particularly environmental challenges. Through this, the political elite would be forced to come up with measures that would serve to preserve the weather.

Based on this, private property advocates observe that the key actors in preserving the environment are the ministry of the environment, which should always hold talks with concerned organizations and other stakeholders in the private sector. However, supporters of governmental intervention suggest a different strategy.

They claim that the issue of environmental degradation is a multi-sector problem, and all stakeholders should be consulted, including those in business, labor unions, environmental bodies, academicians, and locals. This means that the government should participate in the drafting of the environmental bill that would regulate the behavior of all actors, as far as environmental preservation is concerned.

The last variable touches on policy instruments meant to regulate weather pollution. Private property advocates and those urging the government to take action agree that the environment should be preserved to guarantee development, but the instruments to be applied are different. For private property advocates, stakeholders should come up with regulations that would provide adequate usage of technologies.

However, the regulations should be implemented gradually to pave the way for adjustment. Interventionists claim that the government ought to come up with standardized laws that would be applied uniformly in all sectors (Wilson 87). However, the laws should be flexible to allow entrepreneurial innovation.

The main difference between the two advocates is that interventionists advocate for the law enactment, which would be employed successfully in controlling environmental degradation while the private sector advocate for uneven enforcement of laws.

Works Cited

Gibson, Bob. Voluntary Initiatives: the new politics of corporate greening. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1999. Print.

Krajnc, Anita. “Whither Ontario’s Environment? Neo-Conservatism and the Decline of the Environment Ministry”. Canadian Public Policy, 26.1(2000): 111-127. Print.

Wilson, Edward. The Future of Life. New York: Vintage Books, 2003. Print.

Yacoumidis, James. Ontario: Open for Toxics: Hazardous Waste Disposal Becomes a Growth Industry for Ontario. Toronto: Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, 2000. Print.

The Periods Of Renaissance & Reformation, Industrial Revolution And Contemporary World


Science and technology have advanced human civilization and changed the world in many ways. The rapid development of knowledge has taken several hundred years and led to the world of modern advancements. Some of the most significant periods in history are the Renaissance and the Reformation which took place in 1300-1650, Industrial Revolution 1700-1900 and the Contemporary World from 1945 to present.

General overview

The Renaissance period brought major cultural changes to the society and people’s individual lives. One of the most important technological advancements was made by Johannes Gutenberg in the printing technique. Books became widely available, thus making recorded history and the passage of knowledge and information much easier than before.

This was the time of the beginning of technological advancements, as mechanisms became a part of human life and produced much greater work and production output. Sciences were also on the rise—geography, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy became a part of society. At the same time, such fast development has seen some opposition from the government and society, as people tended to lean towards humanities and politics and considered exact sciences as unneeded and useless.

Nonetheless, the intellectual growth continued through people becoming better engineers, and the evidence of that can be seen in the buildings that are still standing today. The chemistry was somewhat non-existent, as alchemy was the predominant form of science. People have been trying to make gold out of other substances but have seen no success. This is thought to be one of the earliest forms of chemistry that evolved into modern-day science.

Astronomy was also starting to emerge as an important part of the world. Previously, the Earth was thought to be the center of the solar system, but this fact was changed by Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei. Medicine and the study of the human body were another aspects in the development of humanity, and there were many tests run about drugs and medicines that were not used before the period (“Periods: Renaissance” par. 2).

The technology and use of clocks and watches was another dominant aspect of the time. People have begun to use time in a much different way, as now it could be better controlled and monitored. The weapons industry was also on the rise, as artillery and gunpowder have become major advancements in the warfare. Anything that had to deal with magnification, such as a microscope, spectacles, eyeglasses, and telescopes was largely perfected.

This opened up a whole new world to people, as they were able to see life beyond their own existence and discover new ways of how living things functioned in the world. Leonardo da Vinci is another major figure in the history of the time, as he has drawn up many plans and concepts for future technology.

His drawings of a submarine, for example, were perfected only a hundred years later (Graham-Dixon 40). Overall, the renaissance period is thought to be an important moment in history that changed the world and led to the progress that can be observed today.

The Industrial Revolution was the next period that has changed the world forever. Mass production, engineering industry have raised to unpredictable and unexpected heights. Machines and all sorts of mechanisms became instrumental in everyday life. Agriculture was now aided by machines, which greatly increased the number of grown cultures (Montagna par. 8). Coal became widespread and was used in the industry to contrast machines, different tools, and buildings.

The textile industry has had many inventions that advanced cotton production and manufacture of cloth. Creativity has become a daily phenomenon, and people became infatuated by the idea of further development. The railroad played an important role in the onset of the industrial revolution, as it became a way to transport large amounts of goods and people. The tracks were bettered, as the mining industry was booming as well.

This period can be seen as an incomparable explosion of building and city growth. The population was growing, together with the production and cities. One of the positives of the industrial revolution era was the number of jobs that became available to the population. People gained an opportunity to make a better living and contribute to society.

New factories were being built at a pace that was not imagined previously, with new technology and sources of energy developing at the same pace. Unfortunately, some drawbacks were poor working conditions, lack of social control, and much-needed housing, education, and healthcare. The division between social classes became more visible, as middle and upper classes have got a chance for much faster advancement, comparing to the lower class.

The Civil War was one of the major ending points of the period. It has brought many changes, as the roots for the causes were very deep, going back to the constitution, justice, and support of the government that people had. The system of government was somewhat weak, and so, there was no strict government that could take control of society.

The industrialized parts were well established while others had to rely on slavery and small-time farms, with the production of cotton and tobacco. This was a breaking period in history where the old life and ways were being changed to a modernized and industrialized pace. There was a lot of trading with Europe, which was the base economic support and has led to a shift in the way people conducted business and organized companies (Goloboy 49).

But the biggest shift in the lives of people is observed at the end of the 19th century, and it continues today. The World Wars have shaken the world up and pushed it forward through the development of weapons of mass destruction. It was one of the darkest times in human history, and after it has ended, people started a new world.

The use of technology has become an everyday occurrence. People are dependent on it in almost all aspects of life. For the most part, it has made life easier and more practical, but in some instances, it has put a major dent in the relationships between people and societies. Computers, television, communication devices, and personal gadgets have given people a chance to lead a life that was not possible previously.

Technology is most beneficial when looking at mass production and products and services that are made with the help of advanced technology. The cleaner and more efficient cars and other methods of transportation have benefited society and particularly those who require some form of help to move around. But in some parts of life, technology has distanced people from one another. The communication over large distances makes people closer and unites relatives who could not talk previously.

The availability of video calling has made communication much more accessible. But, unfortunately, people get so focused on the distant communication through phones and computers that the need for face-to-face communication has become useless. The development of social networks and the use of the internet have made communication between people a form of social status.

People focus on the way their Facebook page looks; they pay great attention to the number of pictures they post, several responses that they receive to certain posts and comments about their status. The need to go out and do things became not needed. The development of interactive programs and computer games has consumed the person in the virtual world where they are the center and the actor.

It is also cheaper and more practical to live in the world of computers, where there is no need to go out, spend money in bars, different attractions and games that involve physical participation of the person and others. Also, it is very time consuming, so people simply have no time to go out and enjoy nature and the company of others. The constant checking for the replies and posts of others, especially if there is an extreme amount of friends, takes up a lot of time.

Another major advancement but also an issue with technology—texting and emails in particular. The technology has changed the world but not necessarily in a good way. Many aspects of communication and life have been reduced to the minimum through the use of technology. Life in modern days has become very fast, and people focus on personal advancement. The distancing between individuals and society has become extremely noticeable, as people are trying to pursue their interests.

The contrast between the different periods is rather noticeable to the modern observer. The Renaissance and Reformation period was the beginning of the new age. People have been living in a world that was unknown and undiscovered; so many things were thought up and imagined. Sciences and technologies were a part of the impossible realm, and anyone involved in something unknown was thought to be an outsider.

The Industrial Revolution has built upon the previous period and led to significant modifications in people’s lives. The time that was previously spent on work could now be used to produce more products and services (Waugh 33). The society became a working mass which was increasing production, providing people a better and more luxurious life, setting the pace for further development.

The modern world has become the pinnacle of evolution known to the present civilization. The cities and technology have given people a chance to advance to heights beyond the planet and their minds. Healthcare, transportation, and communication have made the world much smaller and more accessible.


The three periods in the development of human society have set apart stages of advancements. The world has seen many changes, technologically and ethically. People’s minds were moving forward, along with the technology that has helped comprehend and gather more information. There is no clear cut opinion as to whether these advancements have been largely positive or negative, but one thing for sure, there is no escaping evolution.

Works Cited

Goloboy, Jennifer. Industrial Revolution: People and Perspectives. Santa Barbara, United States: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.

Graham-Dixon, Andrew. Renaissance. Los Angeles, United States: University of California Press, 1999. Print.

Montagna, Joseph 2013. The Industrial Revolution. Web. 

Periods: Renaissance. 2013. 

Waugh, Steven. Essential Modern World History. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes, 2001. Print.

Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy About Ethics

The philosophy of morality and ethics determines the laws that should be the guide for every human being. Immanuel Kant has extensively written on the topic of ethics and by what principles people should behave. Even today, Kant’s work on the highest moral principles is adequate to outline the truth and essence of life.

One of the mentioned facts made by Kant is that a person should always tell the truth. From one perspective, it is possible to see the inclination that rules a person to always tell the truth. Even though there might be severe and unwanted consequences, a person who always tells the truth acts in the highest order. There is no denying that sometimes, truth is unwanted and makes things worse but in the end, it is most beneficial. It can be said that some things are better left unspoken and that small lies are meant to make people feel better.

There are some situations where the immediate effect of telling a lie is positive, but it is only momentous. Even if it meant to make someone feel better about themselves or their surroundings, the final result would be the truth. Because the lie was told to make someone feel better, the negative effect of telling such lie will be increased once the truth is found out.

Not only the person will be displeased with their false thinking, but they will also be said that they were lied to. Also, the fact that they acted upon a lie will depress them even more and a lot of time and energy will have been wasted on a fact that does not exist (Pasternack 27).

Kant also speculates on the topic of the death penalty, and he argues that in case a person is ethical and morally correct, it becomes unnecessary to implement the death penalty, as life with the knowledge that they have killed someone or performed an act deserving of death is punishment enough. But, if a person is immoral and does not have any feelings of guilt, they will not suffer because of their wrongful actions, and so, the death penalty would be acceptable.

It might seem as proper reasoning, but a civilized society should not resort to murder for any reason. There are many possibilities as to how people should act in such situations. One of the primary objectives is to teach people how to behave, so depriving one of their life would not be practical. Even though some situations are grievous enough to permit the death penalty, the result does not produce any positive outcome.

The unfortunate fact about Kant and his philosophy about women is that it was limited by the time and society that he lived in. His view was that “women are passive by nature and determined more by inclination than reason (and therefore cannot be legitimate citizens, equal partners in a marriage or, even, capable scholars…” (Schott 77). Such reasoning mostly comes from the lack of knowledge about women and the reasons for their behavior.

Feminists have attributed much wrongful thinking to Kant because he fails to capture the essence of what makes a woman the way she is. The inappropriate judgment that Kant applies can be explained by the fact that the society which he lived in was unaware of psychology and did not contribute too much effort to pinpointing that true reasons for people’s actions and attitude. His view is based on discrimination by gender, and his excuse is that there was no other way to think of women.

He speaks about morality and that it is also very judgmental towards women because the premise is based on faulty reasoning. There is no specific criterion that sets one person from another, in terms of their moral potential and intellectual development. It is not possible to know a group of people without getting specific knowledge of the characteristics and specifics of the people. Thus, any opinion derived from imagination or false thinking is based on nonexistent facts and theories.

An important concept discussed by Immanuel Kant is the care of others and specifically, care that medical personnel pay to patients. It is obvious that people should care for others because it is morally correct and justified. The only way people can property function in a society is by cooperation and mutual help and understanding. When someone cares, they share the personal emotions and perturbations of life of another person, thus finding the common ground and ability to relate to the personal circumstances.

Kant bases each human life on reason and supposes that is it moral and reasonable to live while helping someone (Kant 147). Often, people are either shy or fearful of helping others because they are aware of the possibility to be judged and misrepresented. Because of social norms, people are unable to pass through the set norms.

A key concept relates to the medical professional and how doctors act towards the patients. It can be said that the majority of medical professionalists simply carry out their duties and go home. It is crucial that people with such authority care about the patients and do not cure but care about the people they are responsible for.

Works Cited

Kant, Immanuel. (2007). Critique of Judgment. New York, United States: Cosimo, Inc. Print.

Pasternack, Lawrence. (2002). Immanuel Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals in Focus. New York, United States: Routledge. Print.

Schott, Robin. (1997). Feminist Interpretations of Immanuel Kant. University Park, United States: Penn State Press. Print.

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