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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Future Face of Globalization: Environmental Destruction

    As globalization reaches its peak, Multinational Corporations (MNCs)’ race to the finish line. All these corporations have the same goal – money! These money hungry business moguls are so focused on achieving this great wealth that they disregard the underlining threats affected by their decisions. For years, environmental and social destruction have been incorporated into this process.

    Don’t run to the government for help. MNCs will just move their business to under-developed nations where government officials are just waiting to be apart of the project in order to get their ‘kickbacks’. Meanwhile the world is left with toxic water, contaminated air, endangered species, and social conflict.

    In 1989, Exxon had one of the most devastating environmental disasters the world has seen. The Valdez oil tanker struck a reef in Alaska resulting in 11 million gallons of oil spilling into the Prince William Sound. After Exxon’s delayed response, the clean-up took 3 years to complete, and the water is still toxic.

    In Papua, New Guinea, the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine was developed in 1970. This mining project, since’ its initial year of development, has dumped 80,000 tons of tailings and 100,000 tons of mine waste everyday into the Ok Tedi River, which flows into the Ply River, the Torres Strait Islands and the tip of the Great Barrier Reef. This development, like so many others, is also abusing human rights and threatening food security of the local people.

    MNCs, including Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Elf, and Agip are preparing to extract oil in Nigeria. Protests have been held to over throw the corporations, but they are being met with violent actions. These corporations are backing the military to harass, even kill, local people who continue to prolong their project.

    Although there are many policies made to correct the damage that has been done, as well as future damage, there are only a few corporations actually taking into account the devastation these various projects have and will entail. This is partly due to the political structures of participating nations. Developing economic and political systems allow these corporations to utilize costs where they can benefit. These developing nations either lower regulations or avoid writing new laws in order to keep, and bring in investments.

    The responsibility of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is to deal with the rules of trade between nations. Their goal is to ‘help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business,’ and that is exactly what this international organization is doing. The WTO fails to address the problems of conductivity within multinational organizations, and continues to let them do all this damage. It holds closed debates and refuses to let the public and the media sit in. An organization which was founded on the principle of conducting trade in a positive way, is one of the main contributors’ to the problem.

    In 1999, the former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, proposed the Global Compact. This was formed to bring corporations together with UN agencies in order to support environmental and social principles. Many nations throughout the globe have joined the pact. The problem is that’ it’s voluntary.

    Soon people will have to’ come together and fight for social and environmental degradation. The protectors of trade and commerce are only protecting corporations. Our ecosystem is slowly dying and human beings are in the middle of the process. Globalization should be a wonderful gift, not something that will leave our world in shambles with future generations to clean up the mess – if there is anything left to clean up.

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