IntroductionSince 1865, the automobile industry has provided people worldwide with automobiles, spanning from your average family car to construction vehicles. These rolling, smoke-spitting machines have both brought benefits and disadvantages to society. Some disadvantages are that they contribute to global warming, they make lots of noise which disturb wildlife and habitats, and they damage the air and water sources that animals and we need to survive.
I will be looking at the background of cars, what problems they have caused in the last century, and what can be done to stop these problems.BackgroundIt all started after the Industrial Revolution in England, when factories and new technology completely changed the way people lived. Alongside all of these things, the steam engine introduced new ways of using the combustible coal. Years after the revolution, the first cars were invented and developed in the late 1800s in Germany and France. Once cars were introduced, they were accepted generously by the public.
This was because people found them much easier to manage than horses, as horses pooped everywhere and could be, at times, stubborn. Cars were also much faster than horses and could last longer while running. With cars, people could reach could deliver goods and services faster. Whereas with horses and carriages, it was much harder and slower to get to the aid of a person or deliver bread to the bakery. The people who were the most grateful for the introduction of cars were the street sweepers. Before cars, lots of people used horses to transport people and goods through cities. But horses, as with any living being, produce waste and can perish at any given time. So society, as a solution to keeping its streets and cities clean, gave the people a job of cleaning the manure and dead bodies of horses off of the streets.
As there were people who liked the introduction of the cars, some people were able to see the harm and damage that the automobile industry could cause to our environment and our well-being. In 1896 Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius put forward a new idea that people had never thought about, that carbon dioxide from cars and the factories that make cars harm the atmosphere of the planet and damaged the environment. Soon scientists were arguing against this idea, saying that humanity could never alter the great climate cycles that were governed by the “balance of nature.” People thought major change would only occur thousands of years later. But after people realized the region around the United States and the North Atlantic had warmed in the 1930s, research towards global warming and the atmosphere quickly developed. But the horror of these gases building up in the atmosphere finally showed on October 27, 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania. Lasting five days, the people in the city quickly experienced respiratory problems from the smog that filled the streets as they went on with their lives.
At the end of the five days, 40 people were killed by the smog. This led to states passing new laws to reduce air pollution and Congress passing the Clean Air Act Amendment in 1970. From better transportation to rapidly decreasing air quality, the automobile industry have brought many things to humanity over the centuries ViewpointsNow I will be looking at the points of view of what people think of the automobile industry from the perspective of the scientists, the public, and the environment. First off, the point of view of the citizens is a bit divided, with most of the people liking the cars and some disliking them. After the introduction of cars, street sweepers really liked the fact that they had less and less manure and dead bodies of horses to clean off the streets, as more and more people were buying automobiles.
Other people thought they were a good improvement to transportation because they could now reach far away places that would normally be more difficult and take longer to reach with the old horse carriage. Cars are also less of a hassle than horses as cars are not living beings and can’t be stubborn like horses can be. Cars are more sanitary than horses, as cars don’t attract flies. On the other side of hand, people dislike the cars as they make lots of noise and, when they were introduced, people didn’t like the idea of going a hundred miles per hour. People dislike them for the damage that the automobile industry brings to environments and ecosystems. Some people today question why horses and buggies completely crushed out of the picture, as people were well off with using horses before the introduction of cars. An author of a website I found points out a couple reasons why horses are better than cars. One point that he states is that horses can be more economical as they can reproduce and make a baby horse which you can keep it and care for and ride it when it is strong enough.
But when a car breaks down and can’t function anymore, you have to buy a whole new car which costs a lot more money than raising a baby horse. Another point is that when a horse dies, you can bury the dead body in your backyard and let nature slowly decompose it. However, a car, as it is not an organic, living being, cannot go through this decomposition and a person must take certain steps to recycle it. Even then, most people like to get the new model instead an old one. He also made the point that horses cause no or less air pollution. While cars spew all kinds of emissions like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and particulate matter, horses only breathe out little bursts of carbon dioxide and poop. So some think people don’t really think the change from horses to cars was necessary and unreasonable, as horses satisfied the need of transportation.
The scientists point of view of cars is a bit different, but not entirely as they are still people living in society. Scientists think that cars are a great invention, but have some consequences. They are also always looking for ways to improve and modify cars so that people riding them will be more safe.
Scientists are always toying around with ideas, like a little child toys with their Lego. They are also trying improve cars so that they will be less of a contributor to global warming. The environment is obviously at the receiving end of all the problems. With the greenhouses gases causing global warming and gasoline and fluids getting spilled into animal habitats, the environment has to face a lot of problems as a result of the automobile industry. These problems have caused food chains in environments to collapse completely.
Animals now also have to face unforeseen difficulties such as getting tangled in plastic in the ocean and habitats, such as forest, being destroyed for space to make factories and roads. ProblemThe automobile industry may have brought benefits to society, but it has also brought problems and difficulties that we, as human beings, and also the environment must now face today. The major problem that the automobile industry causes is global warming and air pollution. According to Jennifer King in How Does Car Pollution Affect the Environment and the Ozone Layer, “the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said more than half of the air pollution in the nation is caused by mobile sources, primarily automobiles.” But the car itself isn’t the only thing causing the problem. The factories that create these speedy, metal beasts that most people probably own, also is a big contributor to global warming as they expel tons of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and particulate matter as a side effect in the making of the products.
Historian Mark Foster has estimated that “fully one-third of the total environmental damage caused by automobiles occurred before they were sold and driven.”(qtd. in Martin V. Melosi’s The Automobile and the Environment in American History) As the world heats up, our safety and well-being are put into jeopardy. For example, fumes and fine particles from the automobile industry can affect the health of young children and the elderly. As particulate matter and gases build up in our atmosphere, they can fill the vulnerable lungs of the young and old and this can cause breathing problems, such as asthma, and can reduce proper lung function.
As the Donora smog demonstrates, in some cases, greenhouse gases can not only damage your lungs, but they can also kill you. In an article about air pollution, it states that air pollution has become the world’s top environmental killer, causing 3.5 million premature deaths per year. Nitrous oxide from car also damages the ozone layer which protects us from the Sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide can also mix with rainwater to create acid rain, which can damage vegetation and buildings alike. But the automobile industry doesn’t only taint the air we breathe, it also damages the water we and other animals drink.
Oil spills from mining operations contaminate the water and also kill of the living beings in the area. Even if the oil doesn’t spill over water, it will seep into the ground and end up in underground water sources. These water contaminations can cause many animals and plants in nearby habitats to die from drinking contaminated water. Another form of pollution caused by the automobile industry that disrupts environments is noise pollution.
In nature have adapted to use noise to track down their food, avoid predators, and find mate. But if we add new, unfamiliar noises into the mix, it disrupts the natural way of things and make it difficult for animals to do these things. The noise from our cars and factories can also damage an animal’s hearing and a bird’s nervous system.
Climate change caused by the automobile industry also endangers as floods and storms become more and more intense and dangerous. Hurricanes have gotten huge because the temperatures in the oceans have risen. The Arctic is melting, too, and if all that ice that tons of animal called home melts, then ocean levels will rise severly and there will be floods world wide. The Arctic also acts as a giant air conditioner for our planet and if we destroy it, then temperatures will rise like crazy. The automobile industry has also brought some direct problems to society. In 1990, the car industry brought intense financial competition all around the world, as countries such as Japan and the try to make their cars better than everyone else. This caused tension between countries and sometimes economy in those countries withered down. Unemployment also became a problem in US because there were too many workers and not too many factories to put the workers in.
Some people also think that the automobile industry wastes money as the cars all look the same. The companies say that the new model of the car is better, but in reality the car is same only with a few little adjustments. This is because people fear change because they think it will have a bad impact on society. Now all the cars look the same and there isn’t a leading company with an original car design.Possible SolutionsIf there is a problem in the world, there has to be some solutions to deal with it. I’ve found seven possible solutions on some websites. The first one, which was talked about the most by multiple websites, is to buy and use fuel-efficient cars.
This way people can drive a comfortable car around without having to worry too much about belching out lots of greenhouse gases and damaging the environment. Another solution connected to fuel-efficiency is to remove anything unnecessary on your car like bike racks and roof racks. This way your car isn’t weighed down by things that aren’t needed on a daily basis. The third possible solution, which is also the easiest, is to just leave the car at home as much as possible and to try to bike or walk to places that are close to your house. This way you’ll be helping the environment and ensuring the safety and well-being of other people because you won’t be releasing as many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Another solution is to use cleaner fuels to power our cars, such as cellulosic biofuels. Cleaner fuels are a lot cleaner than regular fossil fuel and produce less greenhouse gases so people can drive around without damaging the environment too much. Furthermore, cellulosic biofuels is produced from plant-based residue, from wood residue to leftover crop residue.
The next solution doesn’t focus on air pollution from cars, but rather environmental pollution from oil spills. My solution is to manage oil in pipelines and oil rigs better. Whether it’s making a new, more durable container for the transportation that’s moving the oil or it’s to maintain and fix pipelines monthly, if oil is managed better by companies and governments, there’ll be less spills and less damage done to the environment and animals. My next solution is to change the way society thinks and lives. This way if people know the devastation cars bring to the environment and to other people’s health, they’ll take action and work to solve the problem as a society. The last possible solution is a bit drastic, but can work to solve the problem. It is to get rid of cars and the automobile industry altogether. This may sound like more of a problem causer than a solution, but websites have said that before cars, horses satisfied all the needs of transportation very well.
Adding onto this, if cars were never invented, most of the problems caused by cars would never exist today. So if we get rid of cars, we can just revert back to horses and carriages of the past. This will also open up new possible jobs for people like street sweepers and selling horses. These are all of the best, possible solutions I have found that might solve the problems that cars have caused in the world today.Preferable Solutions