The Instigator
dtaylor971
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
JacobAnderson
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Humans are Ruining the Environment

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
dtaylor971
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/21/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,935 times Debate No: 41030
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

dtaylor971

Pro

First round for acceptance, then we'll get on to the debate!
JacobAnderson

Con

Although it seems like a losing game, I would like to debate this with you as I actually do believe that although humans may seem to be destroying the environment, they have a cause. Before this debate, however, I would like to offer a definition for
"ruining" which must be used and accepted throughout this debate. The definition is as follows: Ruining- Reduce to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration.
Debate Round No. 1
dtaylor971

Pro

And humans are doing exactly that. We are ruining the environment in many ways, as I will state.

I have a different definition:
Ruining: Destruction or disintegration, either physical, moral, social, or economic. [3]

Argument 1: The Rainforest [1]
The rainforest is home to many animals and plant life. And we are plowing it down. Literally 1 1/2 acres are being plowed down every second [1], that's the size of the normal city house. We are losing up to 137 species of plants and animals a day due to rainforest destruction. We have lost over 4,150,000 hectares of forest this year [2] due to humans. In 50 years, there may not be any forest left. For my last piece of my first argument, the population. It is estimated that 10 million Indians lived in the rainforest 5 centuries ago. Today? 200,000. That's right, we aren't just taking animals homes, we're taking our ancestors, too.

Argument 2: The Air
Many centuries ago, the air was fresh and crisp and ancient times were figuring out how to do things. Nowadays, the air is blackened with industrial smoke from our factories. Per worldometers [2], we have emitted over 30 trillion tons of CO2 emissions this year. We have released about 8.75 million tons of harmful and toxic chemicals. Recently, CO2 has reached 400 particles per million particles of air. It may seem like a little, but it is actually horrifying levels [4]. We are also destroying the ozone layer with all of this carbon dioxide. But I'll get to the ozone layer if you ask me to.

Argument 3: When We Screw Up
I'm not talking about when we screw up on our homework assignments, or forget to bring a paper to work. I mean when we sink a multi-ton oil ship smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or when we acidentially launch a nuclear bomb into a lake (ok, that's never happened, but still.) Anyone remember the big spill by the gulf? About 9.5 MILLION liters leaked into the ocean every day [5], and it is too soon to even estimate the damage we caused to the environment. And for part two of when we screw up, this is going to make you laugh, but I'm serious. When we forget to wear a condom. This leads to overpopulation. I'm sure that this isn't the main cause for overpopulation, but we are still causing some pretty big problems with it. We can screw up in so many ways... and most of them hurt the environment.

Thank you for reading!!!
Your turn, con! Good luck! :)

[1] http://www.rain-tree.com...
[2] http://www.worldometers.info...
[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[4] http://www.theguardian.com...
[5] http://dsc.discovery.com...


JacobAnderson

Con

While you brought up valid points, there are also many things that we do to help the environment. I will do my best to negate your arguments.
First, I will start with when we screw up by overpopulation. If we are afraid of overpopulation of humans, why are we not afraid of overpopulation of animals? Although we kill millions, if not billions, of animals a year, it is to support ourselves and to prevent the animals from getting too overpopulated. But with this you may think, "Wouldn't killing them lead to extinction?" Well, this would be possible, but we have associations that protect endangered species, and believe it or not, we can captive breed these animals to repopulate them if the numbers get too low [1].
You mentioned that we destroy the rain-forest, which is an undoubted fact. However true, humans also put in efforts like planting native plants to restore the ecological balances in the areas that we destroy [1]. We not only replant forests, but we also save them when there is a wildfire or forest fire. We realize that we need trees and plants to live; we would not deplete the Earth of necessities.
The air, there is no argument against it. We ruin the air by pollution, by factories and cars. However, with modern technology, humans are able to create efficient carbon filters and low-sulfur fuels to decrease the amount of pollution we contribute [1].
As if only saving the air wasn't enough, we have also made a huge leap with the creation of cheap nanotech water filters to kill harmful chemicals and bacteria in drinking water [2] and have engineered oil-eating bacteria for such things like the oil spill you have mentioned [3].

Resources:
1. http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com...
2. http://www.scientificamerican.com...
3. http://news.nationalgeographic.com...

Your go~ :)
Debate Round No. 2
dtaylor971

Pro

"We can captive breed these animals to repopulate them if the numbers get too low"
What about the Pinta Island Tortoise? Lonesome George, the last one in existence, died in 2012, thus rendering the whole species extinct before we could save it. And we don't know about many species before they become extinct, making it impossible for us to save them. So technically, we only can on a few animals.

"Humans also put in efforts like planting native plants to restore the ecological balances in the areas that we destroy."
But we shouldn't have to do that. We shouldn't be destroying this stuff in the first place. This just further proves that we are ruining the environment, or destroying it. This also goes for the engineered bacteria you talked about.

And now, my arguments.

Argument 1: Garbage
This argument is pretty straightforward and can't really be argued against. We (America) are producing about 251 million tons of garbage per year [1]. Where does it all go? It goes in landfills and in the ocean. Most of us know about that giant trash island floating smack-dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Its about three times the size of Britain [2]. This thing is so big it can even be seen from satellites, such as the imagery on Google Earth. And then, landfills. Garbage takes a real long time to decompose, and we are producing it at alarming rates. We need to cut down trees and destroy things to make a single landfill. Garbage is not produced by any other animal, also. Just us.

Argument 2: Coal Mining and Energy Use
Coal. We've all heard about it and most of us use it in some way. To stoke a fire. To use energy. But how many of us know what it is really doing to our planet? It causes water pollution, soil erosion, and temporary affected areas [3]. It creates air pollution in factories, also. In 2009, we created 130 million tons of waste and coal ash [4]. It is not clean energy. Lastly, it produced toxic chemicals, making not only animals lose their habitats, but humans to move because they know the dangers. And usually, they've got nowhere else to go.

Argument 3: Global Warming
Perhaps this is the biggest danger of all: global warming. This is causing polar ice caps to melt, increasing the height of oceans by seven feet [4] since the beginning of the 20th century. On average, temperature has increased an astonishing two degrees in the U.S [4!] That would mean the difference from snow to rain. If we continue like this, beaches will be destroyed and our planet will become much, much hotter. This is just the beginning of many arguments that can stem from global warming, but I will name them later.

For now, on to you! :)

[1] http://curiosity.discovery.com...
[2] http://www.mirror.co.uk...
[3] http://www.worldcoal.org...
[4] http://www.dosomething.org...


JacobAnderson

Con

"We shouldn't have to do that. We shouldn't be destroying this stuff in the first place."

"We are cutting down rainforests for many reasons, including:
  • wood for both timber and making fires;
  • agriculture for both small and large farms;
  • land for poor farmers who don’t have anywhere else to live;
  • grazing land for cattle;
  • pulp for making paper;
  • road construction; and
  • extraction of minerals and energy. [1]"
"This argument is pretty straightforward and can't really be argued against. We (America) are producing about 251 million tons of garbage per year [1]."

"America's solid waste industry collected and processed almost 65 million tons of recyclables in 2010, and more than 20.2 million tons of yard and food waste that was composted. [2]"
Although this may seem outdated, we recycled 65 million tons three years ago. With an increase in demand for recycling, I cannot imagine how that amount has skyrocketed in the last three years. Garbage cannot be argued against because it is a fact, but people have been recycling more throughout the years. In addition, more biodegradable materials are being created an used such as "food scraps and coffee grounds, paper towels, toilet paper, newspapers, junk mail, paper plates and cups, clothing and towels... dish soap, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, glass and multipurpose cleaners, diapers, pet waste bags, trash bags and eating utensils [3]." (There are more materials listed in the site that I have cited.)

Coal Mining and Energy Use (And some global warming)
It is a fact that humans use coal and other natural resources for energy, and these resources may cause harm to the environment, but that does not change the fact that there are other resources for energy. Instead of being stuck on harmful resources, look at the other resources like solar enery and wind energy. "A 1.5 kilowatt PV system will keep more than 110,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere over the next 25 years. [4]." This very short, very informative statement shows that humans are actually helping the environment with these jumps forward in technology. Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming, and by using new forms of energy, we can decrease the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere exponentially.

Conclusion
However you choose to look at it, humans are helping the environment even if it's immediately after they destroy
ed the environment. We see a huge incline in helping rather than hurting as technology makes its way into the environment. This only leads us to conclude that, yes, humans DID destroy the environment, but that is solely because of the lack of other resources and technologies that would allow them to help the environment.
Debate Round No. 3
dtaylor971

Pro

"We are cutting down rainforests for many reasons, including wood for both timber and making fires; agriculture for both small and large farms; land for poor farmers who don’t have anywhere else to live; grazing land for cattle; pulp for making paper; road construction; and extraction of minerals and energy"
You- literally- just proved three of my arguments. Who needs paper? Humans. Who makes roads? Humans. Who extracts minerals from the ground? Humans. What does this do to the rainforest? Ruin it.

"Recycled 65 million tons."
...Wasted 251 million tons. Even with the subtraction of recycling, that's still a grand total of 186 million tons of garbage.

"I cannot imagine how that amount has skyrocketed in the last three years."
I can say the same with garbage, can't I? This link [1] shows a graph of garbage/recycling of plastic bottles per household. Using an algebraic function, I have concluded this:
x= garbage, F(x)= recycling
F(x)= 4x.
For those who don't know algebra that well, I'll put it like this: 4 garbage bottles for every recycled bottle.

"A 1.5 kilowatt PV system will keep more than 110,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere over the next 25 years. [4]."
That may not seem like a lot. But we are producing about that much per second [2]. Even if we buy a million of those things, we only erase about 12 days from our CO2 history. Buy 20 million? Not even a year. And CO2 is only going to stay at a flat rate (most likely) from here.

"We can decrease the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere exponentially."
But it would take a ton of time to undo the CO2 emissions we have already contributed.

"Humans are helping the environment even if it's immediately after they destroyed the environment"
It seems to me that your only argument is that we are saving the environment, but you have nothing against me that, in some way, we aren't destroying it. I need rebuttals on that we aren't destroying the environment. Can I point out you have admitted that we have ruined the environment many, many times? Isn't that what this whole debate is about?

"This only leads us to conclude that, yes, humans DID destroy the environment, but that is solely because of the lack of other resources and technologies that would allow them to help the environment."
So you admit we destroyed, or in definition, ruined, the environment? Because I will state again, that is what this whole debate was about.

Due to the fact that this is the last round, I will not post another reason as to how we are destroying the environment. All I will do is conclude. Please do not post an argument because I can't post a rebuttal. Thank you!

To sum up, I told you in what ways we are ruining the environment. And now... Statistics time!

I posted:

•11 links
•Six arguments
•Nine rebuttals
•Played all four rounds

Thank you for the debate!!! :)

[1] http://www.sustainablebusiness.com...
[2] http://www.worldometers.info...






JacobAnderson

Con

I admitted that we destroy-ed the environment. As I thought your front would suggest, you would know that -ed is the past participle version of a verb. I stated that this would be hard to debate, I'm sorry that you use a cop-out debate, but I have given sufficient evidence that humans help the environment.

To sum up the debate:
I have given many, many, many ways that humans help the environment.
I have shown that modern technology allows us to even restore the environment.
However, you have used the same three/four arguments all rounds as I negated them and offered more extensive information.

I would also like to point out that your quantity of arguments, links and rebuttals does not make up for the fact that they were of average quality. You also centered around specific areas as I negated all of the points and gave more broad, general ideas, meaning that while "we ruin" the environment in some areas, we are restoring it in others.

Thanks for the debate!
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Nyx999 3 years ago
Nyx999
dtaylor971JacobAndersonTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con, this was an unwinnable debate, but you made a valid attempt at trying. Humans do help the environment, but they only partially fix what they created, without humans, there wouldn't be any of the problems the Earth faces. For overpopulation of animals, every animal has a predator or something to keep it in check (unless it is an invasive species, but only HUMANS let species be invasive) and most of the reason animals are going extinct is because of humans. We wouldn't have to repopulate the planet with endangered animals if we weren't here. Like you said, we only help the environment after we hurt it, but all in all, at the end of the day, we hurt more than we could ever help. Con, I congratulate you for trying, you made a valiant attempt.