Plastic Bag Tax

The City of Chicago has implemented a plastic bag tax in all grocery stores. Since February of this year, all grocery stores has been charging their customers $0.07 for each bag they use from them. The city will receive 5 cents and the retailers will get back 2 cents for each bag sold. In order to not to be taxed, customers would have to leave the store without one and carry their items out by hand or bring their own bags. This was bag tax ban was implemented in hopes of limiting the use of plastic bags that would usually just end up filling landfills and dumpsters. Is this tax working? Most people wont see this as an issue. Its a painless charge and people are willing to spend the extra few cents because its more convenient for them. The only other way I could think that would encourage others to bring their own bags is if we cut out all plastic bags completely. This isn’t the only tax the city has enforced. The water bottle tax is also in place for the same reasons, limit landfill waste.

Wildlife Protection Act of India

India has implemented its own Wildlife Protection Act in 1972, which was passed in order to protect wildlife and their environments. This was a major step for the nation, as it ordered the protection of national parks and sanctuaries, protected some endangered plant species, and established punishments for offenders. However, the law was recently amended in 2002 to include the protection of fish and crustaceans, as well as to strengthen regulations that would make it  more difficult to alter the borders of protected areas. Although the Wildlife Protection Act was established to lower and stabilize wildlife crime, it has only been on a rise due to the rapid urbanization of India. Illegal hunting (particularly of tigers), deforestation, and mass fishing has continue to be an increasing issue in the nation of India and there is very little that can be done for the conservation of wildlife as long as the pattern of India’s uncontrolled rapid urbanization continues. The “Environmental Laws of India” website states that there is not much the government can do to regulate wildlife conservation without the help from individual citizens, but how is that possible when there are not enough resources placed into growing, impoverished communities?


Water Regulations

One regulation that has been globally was the water advisory and limitation lately in California. This regulation have helped the California drought especially the south. Since there have water contamination and big bodies of water have dried up like lakes and rivers. With the water being limited used, it has helped with farms and being able to the residents to drink water. The purpose of the advisory and limitations in the first place is to save as much as possible for useful things. This is because eating, growing food, and for big states is mainly these things are more needed or valued compared to taking long baths/shower or watering the lawn. The regulation has changed over time because it started to rain a little more in California overtime. More water have been saved instead of water into area for the things needed in life instead of watering random areas that is not much has happen or wasting water. This have been productive because not only did California survived, it showed how much water the residence have used. National politics around environmental issues have been known for a while because climate change has affected many parts of America. However, some politicians have denied the fact that climate change doesn’t exist in America.

Should Mother Earth have rights?

This question may sound extreme or downright bizarre, but other nations have adopted laws that essentially grant the environment its own bill of rights. Bolivia, for example, enacted the Law of Mother Earth which grants the environment with the rights to life, diversity of life, to water and clean air, to equilibrium, to restoration, and to pollution-free living (Neill, 2014). A bill of rights like this personifies the environment. It makes people realize that it is a living system.

According to Stevens (2017), other nations have begun to consider adopting similar strategies. In India, the Ganges and Yamuna rivers have received similar rights and appointed two official protectors. Any harm, like pollution, to these rivers would be equivalent to harming a person. This will allow for immediate criminal action to be taken against any perpetrator. New Zealand is another nation which grants one of its natural features person-hood status. The nation’s Te Urewera National Park was given protections in 2014.

However, despite the good intentions of these policies, implementation has been difficult, especially for Bolivia. The reason: business opposition. The existing business community is ripe with “careless exploitation of natural resources” (Chávez, 2014). This is a problem that is not just unique to Bolivia. This exploitation is seen worldwide.

Nonetheless, legislation like the Law of Mother Earth can go a long way in reframing attitudes and beliefs about our environment. It helps make people realize that our natural systems are fragile and need to be given rights. We can no longer exploit without consequence. Humans are dependent on nature. We have not conquered it as many would like to assume. It is important that we treat it with the same respect that we would grant to a person.


Chávez, F. (2014). Bolivia’s Mother Earth Law Hard to Implement. Inter Press Service. Retrieved from:

Neill, P. (2014). Law of Mother Earth: A Vision From Bolivia. Huffington Post. Retrieved from:

Stevens, S. (2017, April 10). Can human rights save Mother Nature? Mother Nature Network. Retrieved from:

International Policies

International Policies and Agreements on Climate Change As a world we have realized there are some changes and policies needed to be instilled in order to slow the progress of climate change. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was formed to help stabilize greenhouse gas emissions. At the Convention of Parties (COP) the UNFCCC agreed on the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. The United States of America as well as Australia did not ratify this protocol. Russia ratified the protocol on November 2004, and
Australia soon followed. Out of the 192 countries that did sign the Kyoto Protocol, Afghanistan, Sudan and the USA refused to sign the protocol. The US probably refused to sign the protocol because it is responsible for a quarter of the gas emissions
The protocol included:
-“By 2012 developed countries would reduce their collective emissions by 5.2% from 1990
levels, each country being committed to a particular figure”
-Emissions were not only restricted to carbon, but also included methane, nitrous oxide,
hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
-Each country must meet its commitment and measure its contribution.
One of the most recent efforts to solve the problem of climate change comes in form of the Paris Agreement.
At a climate conference (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, 195 countries took part in the first legally binding, universal global climate deal (climate action).
Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the US led by President Obama joined the Paris Agreement.
In this conference the governments agreed to, but not limited to:
-A goal to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees.
-Meet every 5 years to set new targets.
-Report to the one another and the public on how they will proceed to reach their tar
-Provide international support to developing countries who are struggling with adapting to the climate change.
When looking back it is easy to wish that we as nations took earlier precautions to
prevent climate change from reaching threatening levels. It is however, important to acknowledge that most people who do recognize the severity of the issue and the implications it has on future generations are trying to make a change.
Active participation on changing the effects of climate change is critical, without it any progress made will soon be followed by regression back to worsened conditions. All these policies instilled in our country are vital steps in the right direction, but there needs to be many more firmer policies created to ensure that we are doing the best we can as a nation.

China’s Change on Coal

According to an article by the Huffington Post, Chinese officials announced that they wouldn’t produce new coal in the next three years. This is a great start at trying to improve their air quality and public health of their citizens. This new regulation would mean that the existing production would be cut by 500 million tons in the next three to five years. Hence, some of the positive outcomes would be that not only would they decrease the amount of nonrenewable resources, but they will also decrease their daily average particulate pollution of 155.2 (Willis, 2016). This also means that the level of fog in such areas like he city of Xingtai, the health of those people may see and improvement. According to some statistics, Chinas total emission usage has fell by three percent from last year so this will definitely lead to a decrease as well.

However, although this is a great start at trying to drop emission usage, both the U.S. and China cumulatively account for 40% of the worlds emissions, which means there’s still more work that needs to be done. Therefore, the Paris Agreement marks an important role in efforts of motivating other countries to begin taking a lead toward a sustainable world. The Paris Agreement allies with United Nations Framework Convention on climate change, which means they deal with greenhouse gases, adaptation and financing, all which will begin in 2020.  This is a start in which hopefully other countries can begin taking an initiative at reducing levels of pollution.




Clean Water Act

Image result for the clean water act

The Clean Water Act (CWA) established as a basic structure to discharged of pollutants into the water throughout the United States.  The clean water Act started in 1948 which was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.  In 1972 the act was reorganized and expanded.  The CWA is here today because the public wanted the government to be aware of the problems.  When the public did that the water pollution led to there being Amendments in 1972.

As the year went on using the Clean Water Act, there has been many laws that changed the CWA.  The Grear Lakes Critical Program Act of 1990 was part of the change of CWA.  Canada and the US have agreed to reduce how much toxic in the Great Lakes.



NEPA and the Environment

NEPA is a form of legislation that promotes the protection of and enhancement of the environment. Its most significant result is a requirement for all federal agencies to prepare environmental assessments and impact statements. This was largely put into the legislation following the Santa Barbara Oil pill in 1969. The legislation has not changed much since it was first implemented. Instead it has been used as a base to make further environmental legislation in the United States. I would consider the legislation to be highly productive due to the fact that any federal or private project that may damage or have an effect on the environment now requires a permit sanctioned by the government. This allows for regulation on both types of projects that may otherwise have an effect on the areas surrounding them. In this case urban and national politics are directly related since some urban projects might even require something as large as a national permit for work on multi state projects. In this aspect this form of legislation has been effective as both legislation itself and as a stepping stone for future policies.

Kenyan Government Bans Overhunting

Overhunting is a huge issue because it throws off the Earth’s equilibrium and it is very difficult to get it back on course. The Earth is able to combat many environmental issues that have arisen, but the actions that humans have taken is too much for the Earth to handle. When certain species become extinct it begins to affect the entire food chain, which eventually affects humans. As Kenya faces a dwindling wild- life population and increased pressure from foreign conservation groups, the government placed a ban on big-game hunting in 1977. This ban took place because Kenya wanted to try “…to make environmental considerations an integral part of its development process” (Walter Ingo). The Kenyan government would need funds to incorporate more sustainable practices in the country, so they look at their biggest place of revenue: tourism. Every year thousands of people come into the country to view the exotic animals in their natural habitats. If these animals are being over hunted and becoming extinct the country will lose their biggest source of funds. Therefore it will lose all ability to convert its country into a sustainable environment. This ban has been somewhat productive because the idea is great, but the implementation and enforcement were lacking. The government found that people were still illegally poaching so at “…the end of 1977, a ban was placed by Kenya on the sale of animal trophies and skins” (Walter Ingo). This was the next step that really enforced the ban because not only was hunting these animals illegal, but the people that were selling and buying these trophy kills were being regulated as well. Thus limiting the amount of species becoming instinct which will not only help the biodiversity in the environment but also allow Kenya to maintain its own sustainability goals.


Walter, Ingo, and Judith L. Ugelow. “Environmental Policies in Developing Countries.” Ambio 8, no. 2/3 (1979): 102-09.

Gibson, Clark C. Politicians and poachers: the political economy of wildlife policy in Africa. Cambridge University Press, 1999.

TransMilenio in Bogota

The sustainable challenge in Bogota, Columbia is that it is a fast growing economy along with rapid increase of population so, the pressure to ow, drive and park private vehicles was overcrowding and pushing pedestrians and cyclist off the streets. In addition to this problem, traffic jam was also one of the experienced problems which made it difficult for folks to travel around the city. The growth in private car possession was uncontrollable. As a solution, the city embarked on a system that restricted road and walkway zone among cyclist, pedestrians, public transportation, and private car drivers. In 2000, the city built a TransMilenio, which is the world’s largest bus and fastest traveling transportation. They also added bicycle parking stations and banned private cars from parking on sidewalks to allow trekkers to walk without fear of being hit by car. These policies have increased public transportation riders from 800,000 in 2000 to 1.4 million in 2009. This has been very productive for the city through decreasing people’s interest in driving private owned vehicles to public transportation, which decreases emissions in the atmosphere and it also created a fast traveling system and safer environment for bikers and pedestrians. This regulation hasn’t changed, but due to over crowing and fare-dodging issues, the city of Bogota is now addressing new methods for improvements.