“Choice” in Environmental Circumstances

One thing that stood out to me while reading the first chapters of the Bigalow & Swinehart book, as well as the Bilott novel was the notion of choice. One article in the textbook titled, “Plastics and Poverty” discloses how the plastic industry directly affects the lives of lower income homes. Depending where the actual production sites are located, most of the time, lower income families in the area cannot afford to move, thus them being exposed to toxins everyday. Additionally, these families do not have the choice of buying plastic products with less toxins, since they tend to be more expensive. We take the ability to make choices for granted, which is seen in our decision to build harmful factories, release toxins into the atmosphere, and utilize environmentally unfriendly items. The reading “Interconnectedness- the Food Web” summarizes this idea by using the “butterfly effect” metaphor. One small choice we make today can lead to an outcome we never intended to cause. The Bilott novel exhibits this to the worst extreme. Wilbur Tennant’s farm was never the same due to a company’s series of choices to establish a landfill near his home.

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