5 Biggest Threats to our Environment
Apr 30 2015 Read 1229 Times
Make no mistake – our planet is under attack. It has been ever since the dawn of so-called civilisation, when man made the transition from hunter-gatherer to industrial-polluter. Only now are politicians and corporations the world over begin to listen to the cries for prudence and thought for future generations from activists everywhere.
Of course, although we are threatening the Earth’s atmosphere, there is really no long-term danger to the planet itself. Rather, the danger is that we will render it unable to sustain human life, meaning that we as a species die out – while the planet continues on oblivious to our short, destructive presence on its surface.
Here are the five biggest dangers to our environment… and as a result, the biggest dangers to our continued survival as a species.
This somewhat catch-all terms unites all of the other topics on this list in some way or another and represents the overall havoc that humanity is wreaking on the Earth’s environment. Despite all those people who attempt to deny its existence, climate change remains a very real and very imminent threat to our own existence.
You only have to look at the mounting freak weather accidents and phenomena which seem to become more and more common every year. Even smaller changes in temperature can have a larger knock-on effect on crop yield and biodiversity, leading to big changes in the food pyramid and in available supplies for our ever-growing population.
Decimation of Species
As mentioned briefly above, a loss of biodiversity can be an indirect result of climate change – or of even more blatant human activity. For example, the use of pesticides in farming has already been conclusively linked to the dwindling bee population of the UK, which has halved in number of species over the last few decades.
Though the plight of the bee may not seem that important to humans as a race, their unique cross-pollination capabilities help preserve all manner of forms of biodiversity, helping to keep the food chain in harmony. Despite conservation programmes like the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, many species are under threat due to our harmful ways.
Money-hungry lumber firms are currently destroying much of the world’s rainforest at this very moment, harvesting trees to create paper and timber from which they can profit. However, forests in Africa and South and Central America are key to maintaining the world’s delicate eco-system, sucking up harmful CO2 emissions and producing the oxygen we need to breathe.
Despite the prophecy of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) more than five years ago, when it identified the forestry sector as key to avoiding harmful climate change, forests are now being plundered at a faster rate than ever.
Greenhouses gases – primarily CO2 – are seen as one of the biggest contributing factors to climate change. Too much carbon in our atmosphere raises the temperature of the planet degree by degree, which in turn works to melt the polar ice-caps and flood lower-lying regions of the Earth.
Despite acknowledging the importance of curbing our pollutant ways almost 60 years ago with the 1956 Clean Air Act, air pollution remains a worldwide problem to this very day.
Over-Population and Over-Consumption
The world’s population currently stands at around seven billion people. This figure has exploded exponentially in the last 50 years, meaning that we are required to feed more and more people. At the same time, much of the world’s population remains in abject poverty, meaning that many people suffer and die while the few prosper.
Meanwhile, our meat-eating habits are having a direct impact on the environment, too. The land needed to produce grain for cattle could be put to much better and more efficient use, while the methane gas expelled by the livestock is only contributing to global warming. Curbing our meat-eating habits could go a long way to giving the atmosphere some breathing room.
Image Source: Raising Global Temperature
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