Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Environmental Issues


This EXPANDED eleventh edition of TAKING SIDES: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES presents two additional current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An instructor’s manual with testing material is available for each volume. USING TAKING SIDES IN THE CLASSROOM is also an excellent instructor resource with practical suggestions on incorporating ...
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This EXPANDED eleventh edition of TAKING SIDES: ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES presents two additional current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An instructor’s manual with testing material is available for each volume. USING TAKING SIDES IN THE CLASSROOM is also an excellent instructor resource with practical suggestions on incorporating this effective approach in the classroom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613923200
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/26/2002
  • Format: Library Binding

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Table of Contents

PART 1. Environmental Philosophy

ISSUE 1. Is the Precautionary Principle a Sound Basis for International Policy?

YES: Marco Martuzzi and Roberto Bertollini, from “The Precautionary Principle, Science and Human Health Protection,” International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health (January 2004)

NO: Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, from “The Perils of Precaution,” Policy Review (June & July 2001)

Marco Martuzzi and Roberto Bertollini, researchers with the World Health Organization (WHO), argue that although the Precautionary Principle, which demands preventive action in the face of credible threats of harm (even lacking full scientific certainty), may be difficult to apply, it can be valuable in the effort to protect human health and the environment. Henry I. Miller, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and policy analyst Gregory Conko argue that the
precautionary principle leads “regulators to abandon the careful balancing of risks and benefits,” blocks progress, limits the freedom
of scientific researchers, and restricts consumer choice.

ISSUE 2. Is Sustainable Development Compatible With Human Welfare?

YES: Dinah M. Payne and Cecily A. Raiborn, from “Sustainable Development: The Ethics Support the Economics,” Journal of Business Ethics (July 2001)

NO: Ronald Bailey, from “Wilting Greens,” Reason (December 2002)

Professor of management Dinah M.Payne and professor of accounting Cecily A. Raiborn argue that environmental responsibility and sustainable
development are essential parts of modern business ethics and that only through them can both business and humans thrive. Environmental journalist Ronald Bailey argues that sustainable development results in economic stagnation and threatens both the environment and the world’s poor.

ISSUE 3. Should a Price Be Put on the Goods and Services Provided by the World’s Ecosystems?

YES: Janet N. Abramovitz, from “Putting a Value on Nature’s ‘Free’ Services,” World Watch (January/February 1998)

NO: Marino Gatto and Giulio A. De Leo, from “Pricing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: The Never-Ending Story,” BioScience (April 2000)

Janet N. Abramovitz, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, argues that if we fail to attach economic value to supposedly free
services provided by nature, we are more likely to misuse and destroy the ecosystems that provide those services. Professors of applied ecology Marino Gatto and Giulio A. De Leo contend that the pricing approach to valuing nature’s services is misleading
because it falsely implies that only economic values matter.

PART 2. Principles versus Politics

ISSUE 4. Is Biodiversity Overprotected?

YES: David N. Laband, from “Regulating Biodiversity: Tragedy in the Political Commons,” Ideas on Liberty (September 2001)

NO: Howard Youth, from “Silenced Springs: Disappearing Birds,” Futurist (July/August 2003)

Professor of economics David N. Laband argues that the public demands excessive amounts of biodiversity largely because decision makers and
voters do not have to bear the costs of producing it. Wildlife conservation researcher and writer Howard Youth argues that the actions needed to protect biodiversity not only have economic benefits, but also are the same actions needed to ensure a sustainable future for humanity.

ISSUE 5. Should Environmental Policy Attempt to Cure Environmental Racism?

YES: Robert D. Bullard, from “Environmental Justice for All,” Crisis (The New) (January/February 2003)

NO: David Friedman, from “The ‘Environmental Racism’ Hoax,” The American Enterprise (November/December 1998)

Professor of sociology Robert D. Bullard argues that even though environmental racism has been recognized for a quarter of a century, it remains a problem and Bush Administration policies threaten to undo what progress has been achieved. Writer and social analyst David Friedman denies the existence of environmental racism. He argues that the environmental justice movement is
a government-sanctioned political ploy that will hurt urban minorities by driving away industrial jobs.

ISSUE 6. Can Pollution Rights Trading Effectively Control Environmental Problems?

YES: Charles W. Schmidt, from “The Market for Pollution,” Environmental Health Perspectives (August 2001)

NO: Brian Tokar, from “Trading Away the Earth: Pollution Credits and the Perils of ‘Free Market Environmentalism,’” Dollars & Sense (March/April 1996)

Freelance science writer Charles W. Schmidt argues that economic incentives such as emissions rights trading offer the most useful
approaches to reducing pollution. Author, college teacher, and environmental activist Brian Tokar maintains that pollution credits and other market-oriented environmental
protection policies do nothing to reduce pollution while transferring the power to protect the environment from the public to large corporate

ISSUE 7. Do Environmentalists Overstate Their Case?

YES: Ronald Bailey, from “Debunking Green Myths,” Reason (February 2002)

NO: David Pimentel, from “Skeptical of the Skeptical Environmentalist,” Skeptic (vol. 9, no. 2, 2002)

Environmental journalist Ronald Bailey argues that the natural environment is not in trouble, despite the arguments of many
environmentalists that it is. He holds that the greatest danger facing the environment is not human activity but “ideological environmentalism, with
its hostility to economic growth and technological progress.” David Pimentel, a professor of insect ecology and agricultural sciences, argues that those who contend that the environment is not
threatened are using data selectively and that the supply of basic resources to support human life is declining rapidly.

PART 3. Energy Issues

ISSUE 8. Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Be Opened to Oil Drilling?

YES: Dwight R. Lee, from “To Drill or Not to Drill: Let the Environmentalists Decide,” The Independent Review (Fall 2001)

NO: Katherine Balpataky, from “Protectors of the Herd,” Canadian Wildlife (Fall 2003)

Professor of economics Dwight R. Lee argues that the economic and other benefits of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil are so great
that even environmentalists should agree to permit drilling—and they probably would if they stood to benefit directly. Katherine Balpataky argues that cost-benefit analyses do not support the case for drilling in the ANWR and that the damage done by drilling both to the environment and to the traditional values of the indigenous people, the Gwich’in, cannot be tolerated.

ISSUE 9. Should Society Act Now to Forestall Global Warming?

YES: George Marshall and Mark Lynas, from “Why We Don’t Give a Damn,” New Statesman (December 2003)

NO: Stephen Goode, from “Singer Cool on Global Warming,” Insight on the News (April 27, 2004)

George Marshall and Mark Lynas argue that despite a remarkable level of agreement that the threat of global warming is real, human psychology keeps us "in denial." But survival demands that we escape denial and seek more positive action. Long-time anti-global warming spokesman Fred Singer argues in an interview by Stephen Goode that global warming just is not happening in any significant way and if it were, it would—judging from the past—be good for humanity.

ISSUE 10. Will Hydrogen End Our Fossil-Fuel Addiction?

YES: Jeremy Rifkin, from “Hydrogen: Empowering the People,” The Nation (December 23, 2002)

NO: Henry Payne and Diane Katz, from “Gas and Gasbags. . . Or, the Open Road and Its Enemies,” National Review (March 25, 2002)

Social activist Jeremy Rifkin argues that fossil fuels are approaching the end of their usefulness and that hydrogen fuel holds the potential not only to replace them but also to reshape society. Writer Henry Payne and director of science, environment, and technology policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy Diane Katz argue that hydrogen can only be made widely available if society invests heavily in nuclear power. Market mechanisms will keep fossil fuels in play for years to come.

ISSUE 11. Should Existing Power Plants Be Required to Install State-of-the-Art Pollution Controls?

YES: Eliot Spitzer, from Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on the Judiciary (July 16, 2002)

NO: Jeffrey Holmstead, from Testimony Before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the Committee on the Judiciary (July 16, 2002)

New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer states that removing regulatory requirements for power plant pollution controls will prevent needed improvements in air quality. Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator Jeffrey Holmstead argues that removing regulatory requirements for power plant pollution controls in favor of a markets-based approach will improve air quality.

ISSUE 12. Is It Time to Revive Nuclear Power?

YES: Stephen Ansolabehere, et al., from “The Future of Nuclear Power,” An Interdisciplinary MIT Study (MIT 2003)

NO: Karl Grossman, from “The Push to Revive Nuclear Power,” Synthesis/Regeneration 28 () (Spring 2002)

Professor Stephen Ansolabehere and the other members of the group that produced MIT’s "The Future of Nuclear Power" report argue that greatly expanded use of nuclear power should not be excluded as a way to meet future energy needs and reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Professor of journalism Karl Grossman argues that to encourage the use of nuclear power is reckless. It would be wiser to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.

PART 4. Food and Population

ISSUE 13. Is Limiting Population Growth a Key Factor in Protecting the Global Environment?

YES: Lester R. Brown, from “Rescuing a Planet Under Stress,” The Humanist (November/December 2003)

NO: Stephen Moore, from “Body Count,” National Review (October 25, 1999)

Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, argues that stabilizing world population is central to preventing overconsumption of environmental resources. Stephen Moore, director of the Cato Institute, argues that human numbers pose no threat to human survival or the environment but that
efforts to control population do threaten human freedom and worth.

ISSUE 14. Is Genetic Engineering an Environmentally Sound Way to Increase Food Production?

YES: Royal Society of London et al., from “Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture,” A Report Prepared Under the Auspices of the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and the Third World Academy of Sciences (July 2000)

NO: Brian Halweil, from “The Emperor’s New Crops,” World Watch (July/August 1999)

The national academies of science of the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the Third World argue that
genetically modified crops hold the potential to feed the world during the twenty-first century while also protecting the environment. Brian Halweil, a researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, argues that the genetic modification of crops threatens to produce
pesticide-resistant insect pests and herbicide-resistant weeds, will victimize poor farmers, and is unlikely to feed the world.

ISSUE 15. Are Marine Reserves Needed to Protect Global Fisheries?

YES: Robert R. Warner, from “Marine Protected Areas,” Statement Before the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans Committee on House Resources, United States House of Representatives (May 23, 2002)

NO: Sean Paige, from “Zoned to Extinction,” Reason (October 2001)

Professor of Marine Ecology Robert R. Warner argues that marine reserves, areas of the ocean completely protected from all extractive activities such as fishing, can be a useful tool for preserving ecosystems and restoring productive fisheries. Sean Paige, a Fellow at the market-oriented Competitive Enterprise Institute, argues that marine reserves are based on immature and uncertain science and will have a direct and detrimental effect on commercial fishermen.

PART 5. Toxic Chemicals

ISSUE 16. Should DDT Be Banned Worldwide?

YES: Anne Platt McGinn, from “Malaria, Mosquitoes, and DDT,” World Watch (May/June 2002)

NO: Alexander Gourevitch, from “Better Living Through Chemistry,” Washington Monthly (March 2003)

Anne Platt McGinn, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, argues that although DDT is still used to fight malaria, there are
other, more effective and less environmentally harmful methods. She maintains that DDT should be banned or reserved for emergency use. Alexander Gourevitch, an American Prospect writing fellow, argues that, properly used, DDT is not as dangerous as its reputation insists it is, and it remains the cheapest and most effective way to combat malaria.

ISSUE 17. Do Environmental Hormone Mimics Pose a Potentially Serious Health Threat?

YES: Michele L. Trankina, from “The Hazards of Environmental Estrogens,” The World & I (October 2001)

NO: Michael Gough, from “Endocrine Disrupters, Politics, Pesticides, the Cost of Food and Health,” Cato Institute (December 15, 1997)

Professor of biological sciences Michele L. Trankina argues that a great many synthetic chemicals behave like estrogen, alter the reproductive functioning of wildlife, and may have serious health effects, including cancer, on humans. Michael Gough, a biologist and expert on risk assessment and environmental policy, argues that only "junk science" supports the hazards of environmental estrogens.

ISSUE 18. Is the Superfund Program Successfully Protecting the Environment from Hazardous Wastes?

YES: Robert H. Harris, Jay Vandeven, and Mike Tilchin, from “Superfund Matures Gracefully,” Issues in Science & Technology (Summer 2003)

NO: Margot Roosevelt, from “The Tragedy of Tar Creek,” Time (April 26, 2004)

Environmental consultants Robert H. Harris, Jay Vandeven, and Mike Tilchin argue that though the Superfund program still has room for improvement, it has made great progress in risk assessment and treatment technologies. Journalist Margot Roosevelt argues that because a quarter of Americans live near Superfund sites and sites such as Tar Creek, OK, remain hazardous, Superfund’s work is clearly not getting done.

ISSUE 19. Should the United States Continue to Focus Plans for Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal Exclusively at Yucca Mountain?

YES: Spencer Abraham, from Recommendation by the Secretary of Energy Regarding the Suitability of the Yucca Mountain Site for a Repository Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (February 2002)

NO: Gar Smith, from “A Gift to Terrorists?” Earth Island Journal (Winter 2002-2003)

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham argues that the Yucca Mountain, Nevada, nuclear waste disposal site is suitable technically and
scientifically and that its development serves the U.S. national interest in numerous ways. Environmentalist writer Gar Smith argues that transporting nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain will expose millions of Americans to risks from accidents and terrorists.

ISSUE 20. Should the Military Be Exempt from Environmental Regulations?

YES: Benedict S. Cohen, from “Impact of Military Training on the Environment,” Testimony before the Senate Committee on Enviornment and Public Works (April 2, 2003)

NO: Jamie Clark, from “Impact of Military Training on the Environment,” Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (April 2, 2003)

Benedict S. Choen argues that environmental regulations interfere with military training and other "readiness" activities, and that though the U.S. Department of Defense will continue "to provide exemplary stewardship of the lands and natural resources in our trust," those regulations must be revised to permit the military to do its job without interference. Jamie Clark argues that reducing the Department of Defense’s environmental obligations is dangerous because both people and wildlife would be threatened with serious, irreversible, and unnecessary harm.

ISSUE 21. Is Additional Federal Oversight Needed for the Construction of LNG Import Facilities?

YES: Edward J. Markey, from “LNG Import Terminal and Deepwater Port Siting: Federal and State Roles,” Testimony before House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs (June 22, 2004)

NO: Donald F. Santa, Jr., from “LNG Import Terminal and Deepwater Port Siting: Federal and State Roles,” Testimony before House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs (June 22, 2004)

Edward J. Markey argues that the risks—including those associated with terrorist attack—associated with LNG (liquefied natural gas) tankers and terminals are so great that additional federal regulation is essential in order to protect the public. Donald F. Santa, Jr., argues that meeting demand for energy requires public policies that "do not unreasonably limit resource and infrastructure development." The permitting process for LNG import facilities should be governed by existing Federal Regulatory Commission procedures without additional regulatory impediments.

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