Destruction of the Environment
Published 18 Oct 2017
There are different ways to combat massive destruction of the environment but in doing so, there will definitely be an effect to our daily living. There has to be balance in every way. The problem of the commons and the free rider problem are two issues which are rampant nowadays. Both of these issues give out negative consequences and having the solution for any of these two will definitely cause a very good effect in the environment. As technology continues to advance, the environment continues to deteriorate. It clearly is not directly proportional. If there’s only a way to make technology and the environment advance and develop side-by side then the society should do it. However, it is a given that the problem of the commons and the free rider problem are two issues that started ever since man decided that he should not be contented with what he has and that he should benefit without giving any sacrifices.
The “problem of the commons” is indeed a common problem. Simply put, this is the overuse of resources that are available for everyone. When everyone can access a particular thing, people tend to think that they can do anything they want.
“Problem of the Commons (or Tragedy of the Commons) An example in game theory which is used to explore problems of resource distribution (see G. Hardin , ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 1968). The use of commons (publicly available land on which farmers graze their cattle) becomes a problem when one such farmer reasons that he or she can expand his or her herd since this small addition to the total stock will contribute little harm to the available pasture. However, if other farmers reason likewise, these incremental additions to the stock using the land lead to overgrazing and thus the destruction of the resource itself. In other words, if each individual in this situation rationally pursues his or her own short-term interest while disregarding others similarly pursuing theirs, then the long-run consequence is that everyone loses their share in the collective resource” (Marshall).
Dynamite fishing in the Philippines, for example, has caused massive destruction to their coral reefs. This problem is as vast as the sea and fishermen can go anywhere they please. In order to collect as many as they can, some fisherman use homemade bombs, throw them at the sea which in turn will kill schools of fish. Not only does this cause an imbalance in nature and damage to corals, this can also cause injury to the fishermen themselves. This is one tough problem that is quite hard to monitor unless there will be a tight security measure that will check every boat for dynamite possession before it sails.
People widely use chemical-based products that could potentially harm the environment. Although a call to ban these products has been relayed, some people still continue to use them. For those people who listened and stopped patronizing the said products, they have done a good job in preserving the environment and they also are the ones who benefit in doing so. But for those who still continue to use chemical-based products, they also benefit from the acts of those who stopped. This is a classic example of the Free Rider Problem. This all boils down to the fact that not all people are alike and we all have our own beliefs. If there will be a strong campaign to watch what these people buy and use when they’re at home, then that might be the solution to the problem.
Abuse and a careless attitude are the things that we should eradicate in this society. Both problems are controllable if and only if people will start to think long-term and doing things for the good of the majority. Our resources are vast but there is always a limit. Technology has no boundaries but there has to be a balance somehow. The solution? Awareness that these two problems are present and will always be present if we do not act now.
- GORDON MARSHALL. ‘Problem of the Commons.’ A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998.
- Encyclopedia.com. 21 May. 2009 http://www.encyclopedia.com .