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Few ideas are more deeply entrenched in our political [#permalink]
06 Apr 2011, 22:28
Few ideas are more deeply entrenched in our political culture than that of impending ecological doom. Beginning in 1962, when Rachel Carson warned that pollution was a threat to all human and animal life on the planet, pessimistic appraisals of the health of the environment have been issued with increasing urgency.
And yet, thanks in large part to her warnings, a powerful political movement was born and a series of landmark environmental bills became law. These laws and their equivalents in Western Europe, along with a vast array of private efforts spurred by environmental consciousness that Carson helped raise, have been a stunning success in both the United States and Europe where environmental trends are, for the most part, positive; and environmental regulations, far from being burdensome and expensive, have proved to be strikingly effective, have cost less than was anticipated, and have made the economies of the countries that have put them into effect stronger, not weaker.
Recycling, which was a fringe idea a decade ago, is now a major growth industry, and is converting more than twenty per cent of America‘s municipal wastes into useful products. Emissions of chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer, have been declining since 1987. Dozens of American cities once dumped raw sludge into the ocean. Today, instead of being dumped into the ocean, municipal sludge is either disposed of in regulated landfills or, increasingly, put to good use as fertilizer.
America‘s record of protecting species threatened with extinction, which is often depicted as dismal, is in truth enviable. Since 1973, when the Endangered Species Act took effect, seven animal species in North America have disappeared. Several hundred others once considered certain to die out continue to exist in the wild. A number of species, including the bald eagle and the Arctic peregrine falcon have been or are being taken off the priority-protection list.
It‘s true, of course, that some environmental programs are muddled. For instance, the Endangered Species Act can have the unfair effect of penalizing landholders who discover rare creatures on their property, by prohibiting use of the land. In the main, though, conservation has been an excellent investment. Thanks to legislation, technical advances, and lawsuits that have forced polluters to pay liability costs, America‘s air and water are getting cleaner, forests are expanding, and many other environmental indicators are on the upswing.
Nevertheless, the vocabulary of environmentalism has continued to be dominated by images of futility, crisis, and decline. Nor are environmentalists the only people reluctant to acknowledge the good news; advocates at both ends of the political spectrum, each side for its reasons, seem to have tacitly agreed to play it down. The left is afraid of the environmental good news because it undercuts stylish pessimism; the right is afraid of the good news because it shows that governmental regulations might occasionally amount to something other than wickedness incarnate, and actually produce benefits at an affordable cost.
1. Which of the following statements is false as it pertains to the information given in the passage? A. Chlorofluorocarbons no longer damage the ozone layer. B. Technical advances have contributed to conservation. C. Raw sludge is no longer a source of ocean pollution for the United States. D. Recycling has had an impact on landfill dumping. E. Some environmental programs are muddled
2. Based on information in the passage, each of the following statements is a plausible explanation of why pessimistic appraisals of the environment continue to be issued EXCEPT: A. environmentalists and politicians are unaware of the successes of the movement. B. an immense amount of work still needs to be done to save the environment. C. optimistic evaluations would have unwanted political repercussions. D. environmentalists garner support by arousing concerns and fears. E. selfish interests of certain groups of people
3. If the claims made in the passage are correct, how would politicians on the political right be expected to react to America‘s program to protect endangered species from extinction? A. They would extol it because its success is not attributable to governmental regulation. B. They would extol it because its success refutes the pessimistic claims of the political left. C. They would criticize it because its success was due to costly regulations. D. They would criticize it because it has not shown any measurable success. E. They would be indifferent towards it
4. What is the main function of the 3rd paragraph in the passage? A. to criticise industry for increased pollution B. to urge the government to ban the dumping of effluents in rivers C. to suggest that things are not bad as are made out to be by certain groups of people D. to describe the positive impact of efforts to control environmental degradation E. to provide an agenda for pollution control