Environmental Issues Depicted In Hardin's "The Tragedy Of The Commons"

744 words - 3 pages

“The Tragedy of the Commons” written by Garret Hardin explains how the human population is degrading the environment. When Hardin refers to commons he is talking about a resource that is owned by no one and used by a group of people. Some examples of commons include the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the oceans we fish. The tragedy is that people don’t look at the bigger picture; the over use of commons for our own personal benefit leads to the destruction or extinction of these commons. For example if one fisherman wants to fish the oceans as much as possible that’s fine, but now imagine if every fisherman wants to fish the oceans as much as they can, this is one example of a common being destroyed by the human population. The fishing lab we did the other day is a good example Tragedy of the Commons. Every student was placed into groups of four, each group received a bowl (which represented the ocean,) and 20 M&M’s (which represented 20 fish; salmon.) Ms.Engen told the class it was a competition but what she did not say is that if we catch all our “M&M’s” we will not receive any more (because without any fish there will be no reproduction; hence we will not receive any more M&M’s.) Not knowing this and assuming it was a competition, also the prize were M&M’s I exhausted most the resource by myself. Of course since my group “caught” all the M&M’s we did not receive any more. In the real world the same thing is happening. Fishermen are fishing violently so they can have the most for themselves and so they can benefit and they do not once think of the bigger picture, they are destroying the common and will eventually cause extinction. In Harding’s article, he mentions a quote similar to what I am saying above; ‘As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximize is gain. Explicitly or implicitly, more or less consciously, he asks “What is the utility to me of adding one more animal to herd?” This utility has one negative and positive component.’ The positive component is that the herdsmen will receive more money. The negative component is that if every herdsmen were to do the...

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