Interconnections of Environmental Problems

Interconnections of Environmental Problems


Interconnections among the physical, moral and policy elements of the environmental problem


The world is continually faced with environmental problems including climate change, degradation, biodiversity loss and desertification. The interrelated nature of these environmental problems requires a holistic approach bringing together key players in the industry. However, there is a lack of consensus among the scientific world with some people going to the extent of labeling such phenomenon as climate change as a hoax. Indeed, scientific uncertainties coupled with increased anthropocentrism are challenges to the effective solution of environmental problems. This paper targets to identify how scientific uncertainty and anthropocentrism reinforce one another in ways which increase the challenge of taking effective action on environmental problems.

Background Information

The natural ecosystem is structured in such a way that all systems interact with each other sustainably. Indeed, humans have extracted benefits from non human systems ever since their existence (Lecture, Jan 10, 2017). However, current increases in human population coupled with the growing ignorance have resulted in an over extraction of resources from the ecosystems resulting into environmental problems (Gardner & Stern, 1996). In recent years, the problem of environmental degradation has been worsened by the evidence of scientific uncertainty and anthropocentrism. The problem with this setup is that it predisposes the human population to imminent dangers resulting from environmental problems including the occurrence of catastrophic phenomena.

The environmental problem does not exist in isolation from the physical, policy and moral elements. Rather, these components are interconnected and their interactions result in increased challenges in dealing with the problem (Tutorial, January 17, 2017). Anthropocentrism is a moral element resulting from the human perception of being a higher being than all the other systems. The issue of scientific uncertainty is a policy issue that also stems from the very notion of humans being more superior. The continued growth of these elements is quite challenging to the solution of environmental problems as humans do not see the urgency of tackling these problems.

Scientific Uncertainty

The solution of environmental problems is largely dependent on the application of best scientific methods. The role of science in understanding, detecting and solving environmental problems cannot be gainsaid. However, the evolution of the complexity of such problems coupled with the onset of scientific uncertainty presents a challenge in this process. The relationship between science and policy is that the former is used to influence the latter through the change of behavior. However, the implementation of policy often results in winners and losers and especially when the stakes are very high.

The source of scientific uncertainty is the politicization of the process to attain preconceived outcomes (Lecture, January 10, 2017). In today’s world, scientific evidence cannot be used exclusively in determining the probability or causes of environmental problems with certainty. This is because of the existence of numerous findings that are often conflicting. Moreover, scientific evidence is not a basis of absolute truth but rather hypothetical and disproven facts. Also, most of the scientific evidence is tested through peer review thus giving chance to conflict among different reviewers.


The problem of anthropocentrism is inclined towards the diagnosis of reality through the lens of human values: That every environmental problem must be tackled to achieve maximum benefit to mankind. The physical power held by humans including technology and energy sources is largely to blame for the proliferation of the environmental problem (Tutorial, January 17, 2017). Indeed, the world continues on its path down non-sustainability despite the signing of more than 500 internationally agreed objectives. In addition, humans continue to implement solutions that are only geared towards their benefits with little regard to other biotic and abiotic components of the environment.

The very nature of human’s anthropocentrism is that it results in the adoption of strategies that destroy the overall environment. The solutions proposed in dealing with environmental problems rarely achieve the overall goal of environmental protection because they are aimed at benefitting the human component of the environment alone (Macdonald & Eastham, 2017). Humans appear oblivious of the fact that challenges in environmental protection affect the human population even more when they are not fully solved. For instance, the extinction of bees would result in world poverty due to challenges in pollination. In the end, all the human strategies are ineffective if they are based on anthropocentric tendencies and not a desire to achieve environmental sustainability.


The environmental problem is interconnected and its solution requires a holistic approach among all stakeholders. In today’s world, the problem is further enhanced through scientific uncertainty as well as anthropocentrism among humans. It is quite clear that human beings are the major contributors to the environmental problem through a lack of action and goodwill. In addition, these two factors are interconnected and combine to challenge the solution of the problem. The eventual solution of the environmental problem lies in the change of attitudes among human beings.



ENV222 winter term 2017, Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, January 10, 2017

Macdonald, D. and Eastham, L. (2017). Key changes in the evolution of the human-nonhuman relationship in the past 200,000 years

Gardner, G. T., & Stern, P. C. (1996). Environmental problems and human behavior. Allyn & Bacon.

ENV222 winter term 2017, Elements of the Problem, January 17, 2017


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