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Idea of progress, can we say that progress is only positive ?

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Par   •  19 Janvier 2020  •  Fiche  •  555 Mots (3 Pages)  •  306 Vues

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                                                        Idea of progress

The notion of progress refers to a positive change which contributes to improving the economic and social conditions. Progress is supposed to make the world a better place to live for people. However, despite important progress across history in various fields, the world is not going so well in particular as regards environment and climate change. So, can we say that progress is only positive ?

I will deal with this paradox. First, I will talk about the impact of progress on climate change and environment. Then I will mention the reactions of people who want to promote a more sustainable progress.

To begin with, let’s remember that substantial progress was made across the last two centuries from the industrial revolution to the digital transformation. Such evolution improved people’s life in many aspects : transport, housing, access to healthcare, to water, communication … However, technological progress often relies on important energy consumption and extensive use of natural resources. As a result, CO2 emissions have risen and plastic pollution is becoming a very serious issue. As an example, we studied an article and watched videos in class about the dramatic increase of bushfires in Australia. The link between bushfires and climate change is not obvious but scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate would contribute to Australia’s fires becoming more frequent and more intense. And let’s not forget that Australia’s main source of energy is coal, which is one of the most important source of CO2 emissions ! In class, we also watched a video called “Thousands of students join”. According to this video, thousands of Australian students are skipping school in order to protest for action against climate change.

Indeed, some people have decided to react, not as experts, but as concerned citizen of the world.

For instance, it is the case of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager. We watched several of her speeches (including at the United-Nations) in class: she tells politicians of all countries that they are ignorant, not mature enough and that they are sacrificing their children’s future. She doesn’t care about being popular, she only cares about the well-being of the planet. Her speeches target in particular Donald Trump or Bolsonaro, who do not seem to be aware of the negative impact of our way of life on environment.

But what can we do to limit the negative impact of progress and solve the climate change crisis ? In class, we also watched a video on the famous actor Leonardo di Caprio who is very committed to the protection of our planet. He has approximately the same point of view as Greta Thunberg, and he gives specific evidences like extreme weather events. But he also gives some concrete solutions such as the introduction of a carbon tax. I think people like him can have an important influence and can make a difference because they are admired by all.

To conclude with, progress can definitely make the world a better place but also impacts negatively the environment. However, the examples we studied in class show how people feel concerned and try to find new ways of consuming or living to limit this negative impact. I also think that technological progress can be the solution by providing new ideas and means to protect our planet and promote a sustainable development.


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