Managing Environmental Issues
The simulation on Managing Environmental Issues allows the users to interact with various stakeholders of an activity that involves the use of natural resources for the production of pharmaceutical products. This simulation case is focused on the tree Prunus Africana, which is known to flourish only in Africa, as well as in Madagascar. The bark of the Prunus tree has been traditionally employed by African and Madagascar natives as an herbal concoction for the treatment of old man’s disease, which is medically equivalent to prostatitis.
It has been also documented that the extracts of Prunus also helps in the treatment of malaria, as well as chest pain. Recently, pharmacological researches have proven that the natural products derived from the Prunus tree has been effectively employed in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, as well as hypertrophy of the prostate gland. It should be understood that prostate problems affect more than half of males who are above 50 years of age. It is therefore highly possible that the need for a continuous and immediate supply of pharmaceutical products be identified and utilized at soonest possible time.
The recent discovery of the natural products of the Prunus tree has thus prompted international pharmaceutical companies to devise a way to collect and further propagate this species. One of the stakeholders of this environmental issue is therefore, the company that is highly interested in sourcing the Prunus trees from its natural habitats in Africa. Colney and Pitts, Incorporated has embarked on a project that was initiated in 2006 and continues on until August 2015 and involves the harvesting of these trees for bark extraction.
Simultaneously, the tree bark will be processed within the site for the extraction of natural products that would be further subjected to pharmaceutical processing of drugs for the treatment of prostate disorders. Another stakeholder of this environmental issue is the Kikuyu tribe who has been living in that region of Kenya where the Prunus trees are located. This tribe thrives on primitive settings and thus they have no means of survival except for planting and capturing animals in the jungle.
The harvesting of the Prunus trees would thus affect their main source of livelihood, as the slashing of trees would impact the natural fauna of the ecosystem. In addition to the removal of trees by slashing, the plan to construct a pharmaceutical plant within the same area would also disturb their community. It should be understood that the Kikuyu tribe is used to living in the simplest settings and thus the arrival of various modes of transportation and the industrialization of the site would change their quality of life.
The Ethnobiology and Conservation Team ICER is another stakeholder in this environmental issue, wherein this group focuses on the preservation of the natural resources of Africa. This team would thus always deny any activities that would affect the population of Prunus trees, as the collection and harvesting of such trees would generate an imbalance in the rainforest ecosystem. This team aggressively campaigns for the comprehensive documentation of the richness and diversity of natural habitats, including that of the African continent, which is well known for its high numbers of uncharacterized biological species.
Ecosmiles is another stakeholder in the environmental issue of the collection of Prunus trees for pharmaceutical production of prostate medications. This organization fully advocates the Kikuyu tribes and thus they are actively reviewing any potential activities that the tribe may participate in. In the case of this environmental issue, Ecosmiles makes sure that the Kikuyu tribe is not subjected to extreme hardship and instead, any forms of compensation and empowerment are identified and supported. The issue of collection of Prunus trees for the pharmaceutical production of drug is strongly associated with a number of ethical issues.
On the part of Colney and Pitts, ethics is involved in their offer to pay the Kikuyu tribe to vacate the site where the trees are located. Since this company is business-oriented, their actions are mainly focused on how the company could reap more income through the harvesting of the trees and the mass production of the drugs from its bark (Mikkelson et al. , 2007). They may be very insensitive to the sentimental and cultural value of the forest to the Kikuyu tribe, who must have been living there for several centuries.
From the company’s point of view, this stakeholder is willing to pay a big price for the rights to the site where the trees are located because they are aware that the revenue they would collect from the sale of the pharmaceutical drug would be way bigger than the payment they have offered to the Kikuyu tribe for recollection (Resnik & Tinkle, 2007).
In order to make the Kikuyu tribe feel that they are not being subjected to hardship from the sudden relocation to another area, Colney and Pitts, Inc. ad offered to provide assistance in transferring the entire tribe to an adjacent mountain range. In addition, the pharmaceutical company is also offering to provide healthcare services to the tribe, assigning a physician to attend to the tribe on a full-time basis. The company is also aware that the harvested trees need to be replaced with new plants, in order to have continuous propagation of the Prunus species. The Ethnobiology and Conservation Team ICER is also associated with ethical issues related to the harvesting of the Prunus trees in the community of the Kikuyu tribe.
It is quite saddening to know that this conservation team would also attempt to convince the tribe to allow the harvesting of the trees simply because of the potential profit that could be collected from the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs derived from this species. It is therefore unethical for ICER to support the plans of Colney and Pitts because this team is responsible for the preservation of the site and they should not be swayed to participate in any joint venture that makes use of the natural resources of the site. It is actually quite interesting whether ICER is also receiving any incentive from Colney and Pitts, Inc. s it helps in convincing the Kikuyu tribe to agree to the construction of infrastructure and the harvesting of the trees in their habitat.
The philosophy of Ecosmiles is to protect the cultural and historical livelihood of the Kikuyu Tribe. Their role is fully observed as they aggressively discuss with other stakeholders, such as Colney and Pitts, Inc. and the ICER Conservation Team, to come up with a highly compensated package that would generate a fully sustainable livelihood for the Kikuyu tribe. One commendable stand that was taken by Ecosmiles is that of checking for incidents of poaching within the area.
In addition, Ecosmiles is also driven to develop methods for sustainable harvesting for the Kikuyu tribe. The Kikuyu tribe may also be strongly holding to their philosophy of continuing on to stay in their home. It should be understood that this tribe has been living in this area for a number of centuries and thus the area defines their heritage. The idea of being relocated to another site due to the construction of infrastructure and the industrialization of the site may not be of any interest to the tribe because they have already survive in the same area for generations.
In addition, the provision of new homes for them, as well as healthcare and training may not be so enticing because this would represent changes in their lives. The Kikuyu tribe is known for the trademark style of living and that is mainly based on subsistence on planting and hunting for the daily survival. It must be highly stressful for the tribe members to see visitors frequently visiting their hometown and planning various activities that would change their lives.
In addition, the members of the tribe may also feel helpless because it seems so easy for other powerful groups, such as Colney and Pitts, Inc. , to move their tribe to another place as soon as this company feels it appropriate to do so. The tensions of the various stakeholders can be better understood as environmental justice issues when the center of the dilemma is identified. This case is about the harvesting of Prunus trees as the main source of natural products for the pharmaceutical production of drugs for prostate disorders.
As this tree species is considered part of the environment, then the goals of each stakeholder may be considered as an environmental justice if the other components of the entire scenario are fully examined (Schroeder, 2007). An environmental justice issue thus pertains to a scenario that involves the use or interest of a specific ecological component by a number of stakeholders (Claudio, 2007). In the case of the harvesting of the Prunus trees, the only acceptable condition would involve the planting of trees to replace the slashed ones, as well as providing healthcare and training to the members of the Kikuyu tribe.
The removal of the Kikuyu tribe from the site would be a direct example of environmental injustice and thus this should not be promulgated. In addition to the provisions of Colney and Pitts, the Conservation Team ICER would also provide education to the members of the Kikuyu tribe. This would improve their knowledge and understanding of the most basic things and thus would probably increase their appreciation of their daily lives.
Ecosmiles is also participating in instilling environmental justice, as they are campaigning for the implementation of sustainable harvesting of the trees and thus preventing the depletion of the natural resources of the site. It is important for all pharmaceutical companies to understand that the employment of natural resources for drug discovery and pharmaceutical production of new medications is strongly associated with a number of issues that should be comprehensively reviewed before the program is officially launched.
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