ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

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Environmental Challenges Facing the Planet

Introduction

In the present day, the planet is vastly different from what it was before industrialisation and urbanisation had taken its toll on the planet. Since the entry of new millennium, the problem of the environment has continuously evolved into a widespread challenge which is currently discussed all over the world. Humans are no longer on a planet where the environment was stable and serene but rather the environment is diminishing and becoming unrecognisable before our eyes. The present world faces a number of environmental problems which arises as a result of a change in the quantity and quality of the environmental factor which either directly or indirectly impact the health as well as the wellbeing of a human being. Examining environmental problems focus on two viewpoints. First, it looks for adverse impacts without regard to the origin to come up with the trends that call for further actions. The second viewpoint is that studying environmental problems aims at understanding the effects and the causes of the relationships which ensure prediction and appropriate management. The paper examines some of the major environmental challenges facing the world today using the first viewpoint pointed above.

To start with, one of the major challenges that the world is facing today is pollution. Pollution is termed as the contamination of the natural environment. Environmental pollution ranges from air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, noise and even light pollution. Air pollution has remained one of the most types of pollution in the present world. There has been an increase in the levels of air pollution due to the high number of injurious emissions from vehicles and factories namely carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. The increase in air pollution has consequently lead to high cases of severe diseases such as lung cancer, allergies, asthma, among other breathing problems and irreparable harms to flora and fauna. Also, chlorofluorocarbons commonly abbreviated as CFC which comes from deodorants, repellents, refrigerators and air-conditioners cause severe damage to planet’s environment. Such emissions significantly damage the atmosphere by depleting the ozone layer which further results in global warming (She, Yang, Hong & Bai, 2013).

In addition, water pollution has been on the rise in the past few years. Due to the increase in human activities such as farming, water pollution has become a predominant issue. Also, waste products from industries released into water bodies such as lakes and rivers have made marine life inhospitable for living things. Water pollution has been as a result of humans disposing of the large scale of wastes and garbage which makes water incredibly filthy. Thermal pollution, depletion of dissolved oxygen and acid rain further contribute to water pollution (Melillo, Richmond & Yohe, 2014). Soil pollution, on the other hand, is significantly affected by acid rain among other waste products and chemical farming. Such activities have rendered soil infertile affecting the farming activities. Noise pollution as well has been as a result of human activities such as an increase in industrial sectors, noise arising from means of transport and other modern science discoveries such as machinery. Such kinds of pollutions have made the planet earth an unfavourable place for human habitat (Melillo, Richmond & Yohe, 2014).

Second, overpopulation has become a major challenge in the present world. Overpopulation is a situation or condition where the number of existing humans exceeds the average carrying capacity of the earth. In the present world, the challenge of overpopulation has been as a result of a number of factors including better medical facilities which low the mortality rate, and depletion of precious resources. Advances in the field of technology over the years have affected the humanity a number of ways. To start with, an increase in technological knowledge has increased human’s ability to create better medical treatments which further help in saving lives. The end results of these advances have been increasing in lifespan and growth of the world’s population. In addition, other factors such as lack of family planning have been a primary factor leading to overpopulation. Countries possessing a large proportion of citizens who are below poverty line and lack enough knowledge about family planning usually manifest high population. Such countries have children getting married at a relatively early age thus increasing the chances of bearing more children.

The challenge of overpopulation has raised alarms as it has resulted in some adverse effects some of which include depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation. Besides the two factors, the issue of unemployment, as well as an increase in conflicts and wars, has become quite common in the present day thus affecting earth’s sustainability. For instance, in most urban areas, the high levels of unemployment reported have led to the rise in the number of crime rates such as stealing. These actions are a means of survival for individuals staying in urban centres will no jobs. In addition, the increased rate of rural, urban migration which is usually in search for jobs has resulted in high level of socio-culturally diversity. As such, populations in urban areas lack strong cohesion as each person is responsible for his or her own life. For this reason, there have been reported cases of crime and immoral activities resulting from the same (Burnett, 2016).

On the other hand, loss of biodiversity has for the past years become a key challenge in the planet earth. The rapid loss of the world’s biodiversity has become a dangerous effect on economic growth and civilisation. Destruction of the natural habitats which is home for millions of biological species has rendered us losing several animals and plants species daily. Activities such as mining, agricultural use, settlement lands and forest monocultures have been the primary factors for habitat destruction. These acts are the tremendous flows of material induced by our present-day consumer society. In regard to the aforementioned activities, most the earth’s species have been rendered to be in the process of extinction which significantly affects the ecosystem and the flow of food chain. For instance, wild animals such as dinosaur which existed many years ago were unable to survive in the changing natural environment which later caused their extinction. Additionally, changes in the natural environment have raised an alarm on the extinction of the white rhinos which are believed to be currently endangered species (Bellard, Bertelsmeier, Leadley, Thuiller, Courchamp, 2012)

In addition, another critical challenge facing planet Earth and its habitats in the world today is the issue of climate change. Climate change is the variation in the weather patterns among other climatic factors which result from human factors. These changes have impacted life systems inhibiting the earth as they have become persistent from decades to millennia. The increased concentrations of the greenhouse gases, as well as aerosols among other industrial emissions in the atmosphere caused by carbon dioxide coming from burning fuels such as coal and oil, have been the major stimulants of climate changes. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere consequently resulting in global warming which exerts severe effects on physical and biological systems on earth. As a result of global warming, more adverse factors follow onwards including but not limited to rise in sea levels, geographical displacement of species, increase in soil erosions, melting of glaciers, sedimentation downstream and extinction of biological species which are unable to cope with the changing climatic factors.

The last challenge but probably the most important one is the issue of deforestation. This problem is significantly experienced in the developing or the tropical countries. Human action is the primary cause of deforestation mainly through forest fires. Humans for the last years have been known to be the leading cause of forest fires. Some set fires intentionally while others do it accidentally thereby affecting the structure as well as the composition of the forest vegetation. For instance, the Dominican Republic is one of the areas where forest fires have had great impacts. Such fires and human activities such as cutting down trees have significantly affected the natural environment resulting in immense consequences such increased soil erosion, change in water cycles, loss of biodiversity and climate change. The haphazard clearance of trees and bushes which are responsible for the utilisation of the greenhouse gases thus restoring atmospheric balance have further led to the increase in global warming. In addition, clearance of forests has caused shifting of wild animals from their native environment which further leads to extinction of such animals due to the hardships in adapting or surviving in a new environment (Lawrence & Vandecar, 2015).

Conclusion

To conclude, the issue of environmental problems affects every other individual on the planet making each one of us responsible for finding ways on how to rectify the matter. The issue of environmental problems calls for the considerable attention of finding out ways to remedy the matter in order to ensure human survival. It is a collective duty to uphold and protect the natural environment through taking actions that will consequently assist in ceasing the threats present on the planet. Concerned entities or bodies should come up with ways through which the general public can ensure the environment remains favourable and conducive to support life. Such includes educating people on various factors that result in environmental pollution and how to control the same.

References

Bellard, C., Bertelsmeier, C., Leadley, P., Thuiller, W., & Courchamp, F. (2012). Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecology letters, 15(4), 365-377

Burnett, P. (2016). Overpopulation, optimal city size and the efficiency of urban sprawl. Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies

Lawrence, D., & Vandecar, K. (2015). Effects of tropical deforestation on climate and agriculture. Nature Climate Change, 5(1), 27-36

Melillo, J. M., Richmond, T. T., & Yohe, G. W. (2014). Climate change impacts in the United States. Third National Climate Assessment

She, J., Yang, P., Hong, Q., & Bai, C. (2013). Lung cancer in China: challenges and interventions. CHEST Journal, 143(4), 1117-1126.