How Can the Fresh Water Crisis as Demonstrated in the Film World Water Wars, Be Understood as Interconnected with the Social and Environmental Issues of Industrial Agriculture as Argued in the Film Called Food Inc?
The current part of the work will provide the determination and description of interconnections between issues analyzed in two films World Water Wars and Food Inc. Both films relate to the description of issues connected to water and food, which are vital for the existence of humanity. Unfortunately, at the current moment, many people in numerous locations all over the world face challenges associated with free access to fresh water and healthy food. The current paper will provide a description of the similar causes and consequences of challenging access to vital resources.
The Waste Water Crisis and the existing issues of industrial agriculture have similar causes and reflections. Both of them are manifested in considerable territories and influence the great number of people and the environment. Hence, it can be considered that such issues have a global character. However, the top importance of the issues is based on the fact that humanity cannot survive without water and food. That is why, thorough determination of causes, consequences, and ways of rectification of shortage of drinking water and healthy food are of the top priority for all people worldwide.
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One of the major causes of the problems with the availability of drinking water and fresh food is the concentration of such vital resources in the hands of several global international corporations. It is notable that several organizations (like WTO) control water in the world, and several big companies control the manufacturing and supply of food in vast territories (like the USA). It is evident, that such actions represent some idea of monopolization of the resources, which were previously freely accessible to the population. Such monopolization has several features, which make its existence possible. The first feature is the application of modern technologies for the implementation of the factory system that enables organizational performance with the minimized human factor. Companies try to automate all the processes: manufacturing and packing of food (like pork or chicken) and even transportation of water through pipes from one location to another. Such a strategy makes manufacturing cheaper due to the lowering of human labor costs and use. Hence, companies obtain enough funds and power for further growth. It is notable that in both cases, the growth is caused not by the organic development of the company, but by the simple acquisition of small businesses. The growth of the power and expansion of the market weakens the position of the other companies (in the case of food monopoly). Consequently, many countries face difficulties in withstanding the policies of water control developed by global corporations and international organizations, which protect their own interests.
Moreover, big companies and organizations use their ability to control the vital resources and force the weaker participants to perform actions on the market, which are not profitable for them. In the case of food supply, small companies are obliged to provide their products at lowered prices because they cannot withstand competition. At the same time, in the case of water supply, numerous countries are forced to sell their goods and manufacture commodities on lowered prices and remove any tariff regulations on imported commodities. It is caused by the fact that they are wholly dependent on global corporations, which fully control water resources and transportation. Furthermore, various strategies are developed for increasing such dependence. The strategies are represented by rendering the financial support for the increasing of the external loan (for the countries), or periodical changes of the requirements to the production, which cause additional expenses on purchasing of new equipment (for small business). Hence, the dependence from the suppliers of the vital resources is increased by means of indebting.
Moreover, such dependence forms the background of the situation when numerous relevant decisions are made by holders of vital resources. In the case of food supply, big companies determine methodologies of growing animals, birds and corn, the way of feeding, the prices, etc. In the case of water supply, international global companies develop the methods of water transportation, the form of packing, the final price, and even the extent of availability of fresh water to the citizens of some particular country. For example, in Bolivia, the water supply system was so privatized, that people were obliged to pay for all the water and were prohibited to collect rainwater (Blue Gold World Water Wars). In addition, such decisions often concern global issues, like water pollution, desertification, erosion of soil, and decreasing drinking water amount. It is notable, that international companies usually do not search for the reasons for such issues. Moreover, managers of the companies clearly understand that particularly their operational activities act as the stimulators of the arising and development of the described challenges. Hence, it is unprofitable to the companies to change their operational performance for minimization or even elimination of global problems. On the contrary, they prefer developing various technological solutions, which may sharpen the problems. For example, the development of desalination technologies may, on the one hand, clean the water and make it suitable for drinking. However, on the other hand, received water will become the entire product of the desalination technologies, i.e. the indisputable property of the global companies (Blue Gold World Water Wars). A similar situation exists in the industrial agricultural sector of the USA. At the current moment, the growth of the population leads to the increasing demand for various food products, the majority of which is produced from corn. As a result, the increase in demand requires the raise of supply (i.e. growing and collecting). The improvement of productivity in agronomy is facilitated by the use of chemicals and genetically modified seeds, which have a considerable negative impact on human health and the environment. Hence, the use of modern technologies for solving the issues of food and water shortage leads to a sharpening of the issues by increasing the dependence from the suppliers of vital sources and causing damage to nature and humanity. It occurs due to the fact that holders of vital resources primarily think about the protection of their own interests (like decreasing expenses and increasing the power) instead of developing of the ways of protecting the interests of common people (by minimization of the negative impact on their health and saving environment).
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It is notable, that the World Water Crisis and existing agricultural issues have one more common characteristic reflected in the existence of considerable barriers of withstanding the influence and dependence from big companies and global corporations, which control vital resources. It is caused by the fact that they have better abilities to protect their interests on the international scale and in courts because they have more funds for hiring better specialists and more influence on various institutions. For example, the single farmer can hardly afford to pay bills for conducting the private business, to withstand competition from the side of big national agricultural corporations, and to litigate some matters with such corporations (Food Inc). Similarly, developing countries can hardly withstand the power of the global international corporations, which supply water to them or own water resources (Blue Gold World Water Wars). In addition, governments of such countries face significant difficulties in negotiation for the reasonable prices on their goods with international organizations, which provide financial support to such countries (like the World Trade Organization). It means that smaller and weaker participants in the market have insufficient abilities to withstand the policies developed and realized by institutions, which control the vital resources.
The described control over the water and food resources can force the increase of social condemnation. For the minimization of possibility for such problem occurrence and for covering the fact that vital resources are controlled only by several companies and organizations, managers of such institutions try to use various subsidiaries under different names for providing their services in various locations. They successfully consider that common people will not notice such hiding. The method relates to both water supply and to food production.
The realization of the described strategies used by big companies, international organizations, and global corporations is possible only with the help of the officials. Only governments are in a position to sell the territories with drinking water resources or to place control over the amount of water supply and prices (Blue Gold World Water Wars). Similarly, only officials are allowed to use genetically modified organisms in agriculture or stipulate the formation of big companies, which control the agricultural industry on the territory of the USA (Food Inc). It is notable, that both films (World Water Wars and Food Inc?) show that the representatives of institutions, which control the vital resources, are often become the members of the governments for further lobbying of their interests, as well as increasing their power.
Moreover, it should be mentioned that Fresh Water Crisis and agricultural issues lead to the worsening of people’s health and the spreading of various diseases (like salmonella) (Food Inc). They also stipulate the lowering of the humanization of the society, because people are obliged to control the expenses of the water of their relatives who depend on them financially. In addition, they should withstand the growing competition in the market, and even worsen the working conditions of employees for lowering the company’s expenses.
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In any case, the addressing of the described issues is a complicated task. Each person should obtain the relevant information concerning the problems and their causes, the influence of big companies and global corporations on their lives, and the necessity to struggle and protect their ability to drink fresh water and to eat healthy food. However, every individual should not fear the great power of controllers of vital resources, because such power can be taken away by the joint forces of common people.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the World Water Crisis is closely interconnected with the existing environmental issues of industrial agriculture because it has similar causes, reflections, and consequences. Such issues are based on the increased control of big companies and international corporations over vital resources, like water and food. As per the ideas presented in the films, such control cannot be obtained without the help of the governments. At the current moment, such powerful institutions are constantly growing by the acquisition and implementation of modern technological solutions directed at protecting their interests and increase of power. On the other hand, their novel decisions cause harm to the environment, people’s health, and have a considerable negative impact on humanness. The root dynamics of social and environmental destruction can be addressed by a deep understanding of the sharpness of the given problems by each individual. Joint actions of various social groups directed at decreasing the power of controllers of such vital resources like drinking water and healthy food can have a positive influence on the question of resource distribution.
Identification, Description, and Analysis of Sustainable Initiatives
At the current moment, there are various issues that threaten the survival of humanity, like the decreasing of the vital resources. Such issues can be met by the joint efforts of sustainable communities, which will develop and realize various initiatives directed at solving the given issues. The present essay will provide the general description and the analysis of two initiatives from Capra’s book The System View of Life, which can minimize the negative impact and even eliminate the problems.
The first initiative represents the top-down strategy for sustainability promoted by the following participants: governments of various countries all over the world together with national and international organizations. The initiative, described in the book The System View of Life, will be based on the formulation “waste equals food”, i.e. “all products and materials manufactured by industry, as well as wastes generated in the manufacturing processes, must eventually provide nourishment for something new” (Capra and Luisi 134). The major aim of the initiative is to develop a sustainable industrial system, where the total outflow of each company (both wastes and products) is considered as resources cycling through the system. It is necessary for obligating such companies to manage the wastes and to lower the negative impact on the environment and people’s health. Moreover, the initiative will stipulate companies to recycle their waste for the manufacturing of some kind of production. The considerable benefits which may be obtained from the realization of such initiative are mentioned in the article Circular economy – an opportunity for Scotland. The benefits are the following: decreasing the amount of waste (it will be recycled), increasing productivity, creation of the additional working places, and growth of the Gross Domestic Product (MacArthur 1).
The realization of such an initiative will be performed by the specially established organization that will closely cooperate with various governments all over the world, as well as national and international organizations. The members of the organization should not be the employees of global companies or institutions, for the elimination of the possibility of lobbying personal interests.
The described initiative will be considered as well-timed because at the current moment various companies and countries all over the world do not perform sufficient waste recycling. For example, in 2012 only “40 percent of discarded materials were recycled and reused” in European countries (MacArthur 1). The major benefit of the described initiative is reflected in minimization and even elimination of the pollution cause, namely waste. It will lead to decreasing in the harmful effect of human activities on the environment and people’s health. Moreover, such an initiative will lead to the reuse of materials and stipulate better coverage of the existing demand and lowering the necessity of obtaining new raw materials in the future (like cutting down trees).
The sustainability initiative totally corresponds to the principle of the dynamic balance described in the book The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision because it is based on the understanding that “all ecological cycles act as feedback loops” (Capra and Luisi 137). It means that lowering the harmful substances emission in one part of the environmental cycle leads to the lowering of negative impact on all stages of the environmental cycle and improvement of the condition of the whole ecological system. Moreover, it clearly corresponds to one more principle reflected in adding “the healthy gene system to the organism, instead of cutting away the faulty gene” (Capra and Luisi 332). It means that the proposed sustainability initiative offers to establish procedures for recycling wastes instead of simply closing of manufacturing facilities, which produce the wastes.
The development and realization of the initiatives require close cooperation between governmental institutions, small and big companies, and various organizations, as all of them are involved in the process of manufacturing and emission of wastes. The major weakness of the described strategy is the creation of the influence mechanism on all involved parties for forcing them to recycle wastes. The organization that will develop and realize the described sustainability strategy should have enough power to implement it. One more weakness of the proposed strategy is mentioned in the article Why Recycling Does Not Work (Popular Social Science 1). It is noted that “recycling is often just a feel-good gesture that provides little environmental benefit at a significant cost”. It means that the cost of wastes reprocessing is rather high. At the same time, the process is even less environmentally friendly than the standard manufacturing of goods (Popular Social Science 1). Hence, the described sustainability initiative can be ineffective.
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The improvement of the proposed strategy directed at making it effective should be performed in several directions. The first direction is increasing the power of the organization that will develop and realize the recycling initiative at national and international levels, and influence on all parties involved in the process of manufacturing. It can be reached by the establishment of various public campaigns and cooperation with other similar organizations at the national and international levels (Paul 1). The establishment of public campaigns will attract people’s attention to the issue of the negative impact of wastes on the environment and human health. It will help stipulation society to take the action steps for the rectification of the issues. Cooperation with similar organizations will enable greater influence and increase the effectiveness of the sustainable initiative. The second direction is reflected in the application of the most up-to-date recycling technologies, which have the lowest possible negative impact on the environment.
It is notable that the stated actions can be realized worldwide. However, their realization should be performed gradually. Firstly, the described sustainability strategies can be realized and implemented in the territories of one or several countries. It is necessary for the establishment and fixing of the proper organizational performance. Then, the realization of the initiative can be accelerated on the territories of several countries and continents. The final goal of the initiative is to implement effective waste management strategies all over the world for the minimization of the negative impact of manufacturing on the environment and human health and lowering of the not renewable resources use. The progressive scalability will grant timely revealing of any barriers and issues of organizational performance and timely and effective rectification of such issues.
One more sustainability initiative that will be described in the current work is the usage of cars without oil. Such vehicles can use gasoline, advanced biofuels, or some other substances for working (Capra and Luisi 334). The described initiative is considered to be extremely important because the transition on such types of vehicles is impossible without a clear understanding by each individual that hybrid cars cause lower harm to the environment. Such understanding should be provided by various social movements and local authorities for making it closer to each individual.
Such a sustainability initiative completely corresponds to the principles mentioned above. It is reflected in the several principles of the initiative, which were mentioned in the book The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. The first principle is that the elimination of fossil fuel use will lead to the lowering of the harmful emissions and decrease of negative impact on various parts of the ecological cycles (Banas 1). Such a principle is known as the dynamic balance. One more principle is reflected in the proposition of replacement of the standard cars with hybrid cars, instead of the simple prohibition of the use of cars due to the fact that they cause harm to the environment.
The proposed initiative has both strong and weak sides. The major strong side is that it is directed at solving the pollution cause, which is the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere from automobiles (Clean Energy Advisor 1). Additionally, it can lead to the reduction of the non-renewable resources use, i.e. saving them for future generations. However, the realization of the given sustainability initiative has several weak sides. First of all, it requires considerable initial investments in the replacement of vehicles. It can be performed only by providing each person who owns or will own a car in the future with a strong understanding that the use of vehicles with fossil fuels causes considerable harm to the environment and human health. The enabling of such awareness will be a complicated task as it will require considerable financing and human efforts.
The described weak sides of the sustainability initiative can be met by the increasing of public awareness concerning the considerable positive effect of the hybrid automobiles use. The stress should be made on the lowering of harmful substances emissions. However, people’s attention can be attracted by the fact the use of such types of vehicles is less expensive than the driving cars which use fossil fuels due to several reasons. Firstly, fossil fuel cars (even diesel automobiles) cost more “due to extra emission controls required’ (Cobb 1). Secondly, hybrid cars use fewer sources. The initiatives will show people that they can “decrease the harmful effects of emissions on the environment and save a few bucks at the pumps” (Green Living 4 Life 1).
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It should be noted that such an initiative can be implemented in various countries all over the world because it has no limitations. The scalability of hybrid cars use is unlimited. However, the citizens of such territories should have enough funds for the replacement of their old cars, which use fossil fuels, with the new hybrid vehicles.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the current work provides the general description and analysis of two sustainability initiatives, which were mentioned in the book The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. The given initiatives can help in building a sustainable society and decreasing the negative impact of human activities on the environment. The first initiative is represented by the establishment of the global organization that will control the performance of waste recycling by means of close cooperation with governments and various national and international institutions. The second initiative is reflected in the use of hybrid cars instead of common vehicles, which are working on fossil fuels. Both initiatives would have a considerable positive effect on the environment because they would decrease the cause of pollution. It is notable that both sustainability initiatives can be effectively realized in different locations worldwide. However, their realization is connected with various problems and weaknesses, like a low rate of awareness of all involved parties, and a lack of necessary influence on national and international companies. Such weaknesses can be met by the improvement of people’s awareness concerning the great benefits provided by the realization of current strategies. It can be done by means of various public campaigns establishment, and cooperation between various institutions.