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Theoretical Perspective Essay


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Theoretical Perspective

The America people are experiencing one of the harshest winter seasons in recent history. This is despite continued warnings from the scientific community calling on the nation’s political leadership to take a bolder stance against environmental degradation. In November 23 2018, Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis published an article in the New York Times titled “U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy” scorning at the government’s indifference towards a healthy environment. The authors decried the current leadership position on climate change that has effectively rolled back gains grasped during the previous presidency’s’ tenure (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). The release of a report compiled by scientists looking at the adverse weather conditions affecting about 13 states placed the future of the U.S. economy in a crisis. Rather than adapt towards mitigating the outcomes of climate change, the present administration is attempting to ignore yet effects continue being experienced in varying degrees from forest fires to extended periods of draught (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018).  By looking at the structural functionalist, social conflict, and symbolic interactionist standpoints present in the article, it is possible to gain deeper understanding why it is difficult for many to appreciate the benefits associated with a healthy environment.   

            The structural functionalist approach as exhibited in the article was witnessed during the Obama presidency. It was a time where the scientific community moved as a unit towards working with the administration to ensure the long-term sustainability of America’s domestic society (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). The Obama Administration understood that climate change ought not only to be addressed within America borders but in other part of the world (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). It was a time where the U.S. took center stage in encouraging the rest of the world to work towards fighting climate change.

            The American society witnessed a revolution where the Environmental Protection Agency spearheaded drafting and implementation of technology that allowed for protection of the environment (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). The prospect of a healthy future for the country’s children and grandchildren worked to motivate people to works towards a green economy. Combating climate change was perceived as the best route to take individually and collectively.  

From a social conflict perspective, it is clear that the good of America’s future has become compromised. One quota of the political class has opted to disparage the need to embrace the war against climate change (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). The regulations formulated and adopted by the EPA towards calling for a shift away from the use of fossil fuels were termed as a war on coal by the Conservative politicians (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). Many business people considered the new regulations as bad for their businesses. They supported the political wing that did not consider climate change as a dominant social issue. Given that the change to a green economy was expensive, most business people voted for the political leadership promising a watering down on environmental protection.

Looking at the article from the symbolic interactionist perspective, it is apparent that the society is now more conscious of the need to combat climate change today in comparison to their stance on the issue a few years ago (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). Large sections of the American society have witnessed first-hand the adverse effects of climate change not only on their lives but also on the lives of others and their businesses’ bottom-line (Davenport & Pierre-Louis, 2018). It is clear to more people today than in the past that humankind is responsible for the carbon emissions brining about erratic weather conditions.

In conclusion, climate change as a social issue demands rapid actions from all stakeholders from an individual as well as collective level by all in the American society. From the article, it the previous administration worked to empower government agencies to look to structural functionalism towards garnering support for the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, the political class employed it as a means to generate social conflict and diminish the gains that it was bound to bring to the society. However, the continued manifestation of erratic weather patterns has encouraged many to embrace fighting against it allowing for symbolic interactionism to further the fight against climate change.     


Davenport, C. & Pierre-Louis, K. (2018). U.S. climate report warns of damaged environment and shrinking economy. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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