Environmental Issues and the Industrial Revolution
Argosy University Online
SCI201— Ecology and Environmental Sustainability
Module 1, Assignment 3
Dr: James Lilly
The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a major turning point in earth’s ecology and the relationship between humans and environment. There were several negative environmentally impacts. Three in particular that are ripple effects to each other are urbanization, pollution and global warming.
From 1695 – 1801 there was a 60% population growth rate. There were advancements in farming that reduced the need for farmhands. People migrated to the cities to find work and places to ...view middle of the document...
During eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pollution became a major problem with the introduction of the factory system. “The substitution of hand labor by machine labor led to dramatic rises in productivity, the application of power to industrial processes, and the use of the railroad by way of steam engine, all helped to accelerate the pollution problem.”
Industries are divided into three groups: Primary industries like mining and smelting, secondary industries like automobile factories and tertiary industries like advertisement companies. These three groups are distinctive regarding the amount of pollution produced in their operations; but, the largest impact from pollution is produced within the secondary industries. Many of the largest polluters come from the chemical, pesticide, oil refining, petrochemical, metal smelting, iron and steel, and food processing industries; they are affecting our air and water.
In the past, companies had been able to regard the air, land, and water as free goods. Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, a landmark law designed to reduce air pollution. Air pollution comes from the burning of fuel. It first became a concern in the 1850s when English companies emitted noxious pollutants from their chimneys. Power plants and factories, steam engines and cars are the major causes of high levels of carbon dioxide. Air pollution produces smog. Smog reduces sunlight and therefore photosynthesis, which stresses plants. Air pollution causes respiratory problems and disease in human beings. For example, in London 1952, smog killed four thousand people. It also produces acid rain. Acid rain destroys vegetation and the microbes in soil; not to mention the chemical corrosion of buildings and statues. It also contaminates our water.
Water covers 70% of the earth. A healthy lake has a pH of 6.5. If it gets to pH 4, the lake is dead; A healthy ocean has a pH of 8.2. When there is too much H+ this causes fish eggs not to hatch, which leads to the decrease in fish and less food for us and other species. Other sources of water pollution are industrial waste (heavy metals, phosphates, asbestos, etc.), fertilizers and pesticides, untreated sewage, oil spills, dumping in oceans, and underground storage leakage. This pollution leads to diseases such as cholera and typhoid from microorganisms, and sometimes even death.
Environmentalism is political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities; through the adoption of forms of political, economic, and social organization. The first major wave of national environmental legislation came in the mid-1960s. “In 1963, they passed the Clean Air Act. This encouraged cooperative programs by state and local government to prevent and control air pollution. In 1964, the Wilderness Act was passed. This preserved nine million acres of...