- “Technology for a Sustainable Environment.”(US EPA) US EPA. Extramural Research-Science Topics. Web. 1 Dec.2014.
(US EPA, n.d.)US EPA, E.R.C. (n.d.). Technology for a Sustainable Environment. Retrieved December 1, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/ncer/science/tse/
Technology can be used intelligently to protect the environment, sustain it for future generations and build up healthy economies. To build a sustainable economy, people need to be socially responsible by balancing economic progress with environmental protection. The Technology for Sustainable Environment (TSE) grant program which was co-funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSA) funded novel research ideas in green chemistry, green engineering, and industrial ecology in universities throughout the U.S.A. Various “green” technologies were developed through the joint efforts of students and junior scientists from educational institutions. These cutting edge researches emphasized environmentally friendly, efficient and cost effective resource utilization, for solving problems from a societal and scientific perspective. The last Request for Proposal of the TSE program was in 2003. Since its inception in 1996, this program had supported proposals in green chemistry, green engineering, pollution prevention, industrial ecology, sustainable product realization, and construction processes.
The TSE program was an ambitious program started with lofty ideals. Though the program emphasized on interdisciplinary research from the fields of science and sociology, the awards itself were of a small scale and duration. The TSE did not consider the fact that environmental programs need to go on for long periods of time, till the benefits of the program become long lasting. I feel that adequate planning and research did not go into the creation of this funding program in terms of its sustainability and viability. It is indeed disheartening that a well-intentioned program such as this could not continue beyond 2003 and the reader is left wondering what happened to the research projects that were funded between 1996 and 2003. How the investment into this program was beneficial for the environment, economy or society has not been enunciated. This web article is like a promotional piece for the TSE program but as there is no information on what happened to it after 2003, the views expressed in this web page provide a one-sided view of the program. Though the TSE was initiated so that technology could be intelligently used for environment protection and sustainable development, it is ironic that the TSE itself did not use technological advances to sustain the program beyond its initial years’.
- Alcock, Ian et al.” Longitudinal Effects on Mental Health of Moving to Greener and Less Green Urban Areas.” Environmental Science and Technology 48(2014): 1247-1255. Web
Alcock,I.,White,M.P., Wheeler, B.W., Fleming, L.E.., & Depledge, M.H.(2014). Longitudinal Effects on Mental Health of Moving to Greener and Less Green Urban Areas. Environmental Science and Technology, 48, 1247-1255. Retrieved from http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/es403688w
Adaptation, sensitisation, and shifting baseline have all been discussed in literature as responsible for the changes in a person’s mental health status after he moves to a more-green or a less-green area – Ian Alcock and his team have discussed in this paper about their findings from an observational research they conducted into finding out which of these theories might best explain the progress in a person’s mental status after a migration. The adaptation hypothesis states that though there might be an initial improvement in the mental health of a person when he first moves to a greener area than where he stayed before, the mental health changes seen would soon wear off as the person adapted to his new environs. The sensitzation hypothesis states that there might not be any effect noticed in the mental health of a person after a shift , until such time as that person begins to adapt to his surroundings. The shifting baseline hypothesis states that mental health of the person who shifted homes to a greener area might improve soon after the shift and remain at high levels for a long period of time, during which period he transforms his mental health to a new high and maintains it there. The research showed that for people who moved to greener areas from less green areas, the shifting hypothesis theory seemed to be the one that played the critical role. But for the people who moved from greener to less- green areas, the researchers were not able to determine with certainity which of these hypotheses was the key factor.
The data for the study was derived from a longitudinal survey conducted in England over a period from 1991-2008. The paper describes well the methods and analytical techniques used in this study. The study limitations have been clearly delineated and the researchers have provided direction for new research to its readers. Since the study design was observational and the feasiblity of conducting human experiments on a large scale (by asking families to move physically from greener to less green areas or from less green areas to more green areas) is poor, the results of this study are commendable and can direct policy makers about investing more resources into creating greener environments for people to live in with happiness. This research provides valuable input into the environmental factors that affect a person’s mental health since depressive illnesses are a leading cause of disability which hinder well-being in many nations of the world today.