There are many schools of thought when it comes to protecting the environment. Activities such as creating awareness or planting trees come into the more proactive category while changing the ways we deal with waste would definitely be a more…
Environmental issues are the negative aspects of human activities on natural environment. Planet earth passed on its legacy of a four billion years development of sustainable environment to humans and they left no habitat, landscape and region untouched. The loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction, depletion of energy or mineral sources, deforestation, climate change, global warming, ground water contamination, species extinction, ozone layer depletion and environmental pollution are all part of environmental issues. Our website will take you through all of these environmental issues in details, will help you in reducing your environmental impact by a little change in the way you live and will help you to live a green life. Planet earth is the only known planet in universe that has life supporting capabilities and we must keep it clean and green for our sustainable future.
Humans Impact on Environment
Humans have a greater negative impact on earth's environment than it can sustain and is outside of its carrying capacity. Studies and scientific research on environmental degradation reveals that we have only a few years left to change the way we live, to preserve our depleting ecosystems & natural habitats and to reduce our emission of greenhouse gases to prevent catastrophic changes in earth's climate which will result in mass extinction of species.
Humans have altered the face of the earth more than any other species and the pace with which this change is progressing is threatening. Nearly 80% of the earth's surface is already marked by humans and the hunt is on to mark the rest. Our hunger for resources will soon become a challenge to sustain on planet earth.
Sustainable Development is the only solution to combat environmental issues. Though there are several government and non-government organizations working for environment conservation, wide gap between the developed and developing economies remains the biggest obstacle in implementing policies.
Environmental degradation occurs when humans start exploiting a freely available natural resource beyond a limit from where natural recovery isn't possible. Since humans and all other living organisms are interdependent, loss of one element causes instability in the whole chain and results in further stress on natural resources.
Environmental Degradation occurs in two ways - when natural habitats are destroyed and when natural resources are depleted. Pollution is the main source of environmental degradation which contaminate the natural resources such as air, water and soil. With population explosion, world's natural habitats and ecosystems are under stress to give way to accommodate the extra population. The consequences are reducing green cover of earth and extinction of wildlife species.
Knowing the causes of environmental degradation, it is the need of the hour that we protect our environment by changing the way we live. Otherwise it will be too late to act.
Key Facts on Environmental Degradation:
Global Issue: Environmental Degradation is a global issue and hence affects all of us. It doesn't matter which part on earth you live, the impacts of environmental degradation are global.
Intensity of Disasters: The rate and intensity of natural disasters are directly proportional to the level of environmental degradation. Past few decades have witnessed high intensity natural disasters and the rate of disasters have also gone up significantly.
Irreversible Damage: The damage caused to environment is almost irreversible since nature recovers extremely slow. So the rate at which we are destroying nature will result in catastrophic changes and extinction of several species.
Diseases: Due to contamination of air, land and water resources, diseases spread with accelerated rate. Global weather patterns are changing significantly resulting in sever flooding, droughts and other natural calamities which spread communicable diseases.
High Level threat: Environmental degradation is one of the Ten Threats officially cautioned by the High Level Threat Panel of the United Nations.
List of Major Environmental Issues
Climate Change: The global climate change brings a range of highly threatening risks of extreme temperatures, uncontrollable natural calamities and disasters, rising sea level etc. Global warming is the main reason for global climate change and changing weather patterns. Uncontrolled emissions of greenhouse gases and clearing of forests for land use are the prime causes of global warming.
Environmental Pollution: Air, water, land and soil pollution is eating away our planet earth from core and is slowing taking earth towards fetal end. The air we breath, the water we drink and the food we eat, all are contaminated by the environmental pollutants. Majority of the population on earth is suffering from diseases caused to environmental pollution.
Species Extinction: Nearly 25% of the species are at the edge of extinction and by the end of year 2100, human activities may drive more than half of the world's marine and land species towards extinction. Clearing of natural habitats, relentless hunting and poaching by humans are the main reasons of species extinction.
Population Explosion: The rapidly increasing population voraciously consume resources, pollute the air and water, damage ecosystems, tear down natural habitats and endangering animal species towards extinction.
Deforestation: Earth's forests are under intense pressure due to our hunger for land, logging, mining and other raw material needs. Tropical forests and rain forests are depleting at a rate never recorded before. The major causes of deforestation are agricultural expansion, followed by wood fuel demands from households and other sources.
Melting of Glaciers: Rapidly melting glaciers and retreating Greenland and Antarctic icesheets could result in sea level rise from 10-15 feet by the year 2100 and majority of our mega cities will be engulfed by oceans. Many glaciers have melted so fast over the past few decades that they have vanished from the face of the earth forever.
Resource Depletion: Natural resources are being depleting at a record high rate and humans are heading towards potential energy crises. Depletion of finite energy resources like coal, oil, natural gas and minerals will affect world GDP well before the humans will actually witness the deadly impacts of global warming.
Ocean Acidification: Oceans acts as a carbon sink and absorbs majority of carbon dioxide released by humans into the atmosphere. Due to this absorption of excess carbon dioxide from atmosphere, our oceans are becoming acidic day by day and endangering marine ecosystems. Several species are already under threat of extinction due to ocean acidification.
Sustainable Development - Combating Environmental Issues
Sustainable development is the only viable solution to combat environmental issues and has been on top of political agenda since 1990. Sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the social challenges facing humanity. It is the process to make sure that our interactions with the environment are in the way that there is a minimum harm to the environment and we can keep the environment as pristine as naturally possible.
The field of sustainable development constitutes three parts - environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and social responsibility. Sustainable practices requires that we use natural resources at a rate lower or equal to the rate nature can replenish them so that whatever damage is done to environment can be recovered by nature through natural recovery. Failure to sustainable development can lead to extinction of humanity.